Bill Proctor is a member of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He was a reporter with WXYZ news for 33 years and founded “Proving Innocence,” a project to help support people who have been wrongfully convicted after exoneration as well as investigative work. He now works directly with people who need help proving their innocence. Check out https://www.seekingjusticebp.com for more.
Mike and Kevin talk to Bill to discuss his long career of helping those wronged by the justice system. Bill shares his expertise on the national innocence movement and the projects in Michigan dedicated to helping those who are innocent. Bill also shares his frustration with the “bad science” in police work that is being reconsidered and coming to terms with the shortcomings of the justice system. His stories of these wrongfully convicted people are heartbreaking and eye-opening.
Show Notes:[00:34] Introducing today’s guest Bill Proctor[01:41] We have previously done podcasts on Aaron Salter and Kenny Wyniemko who were both wrongly convicted[02:21] The bad lawyering that goes on is heartbreaking [02:33] “What made you form ProvingInnocence.org and why are you spending your retirement years helping to free innocent people?”[02:50] This began with the case of Temujin Kensu (Frederick Thomas Freeman)[03:40] Proving Innocence has provided money to people who leave the prison system without even pocket change[03:59] Proving Innocence is a support organization to help people released from prison and those who have been wrongfully convicted[04:38] www.SeekingJusticebp.com is an organization that talks about what is current [05:53] There is even a level of criminality when it comes to failure of police, prosecutors and politics[06:52] Michigan has the Innocence Clinic at UofM Law School and an Innocence Project at Cooley Law School that have lawyers actively working on these cases [07:22] The University of Michigan Innocence Clinic is essentially a UofM Law School created element for teaching young lawyers[08:08] Cooley Law is connected to the Innocence Project in New York. [08:20] The University of Michigan Innocence Clinic does not look at DNA while Cooley Law does use DNA evidence[09:24] These organizations all stem from the OJ Simpson trial[11:40] It takes an average 11 years for someone who is actually innocent to get in front of a judge or to have someone review their claim of innocence [15:17] Sometimes the public’s need for information made the police do things they shouldn’t have done for example Lamarr Monson who was convicted of murder in the death of Christina Brown[17:04] “Over and over and over again in the Detroit Police Department I hear about confessions that the people who signed them insist were not true”[22:02] Is police misconduct as prevalent today as it was back in the day before federal oversight?[24:27] Poor people are not getting quality legal assistance[25:02] There are so many cases that the attorneys don’t have the time or the ability to ask good questions[28:46] Walter Swift and Kensu had horrible lawyers who have both been disbarred[29:38] Lawrence Greene had been disbarred twice[31:30] “How do you get the attention of the judges to take these cases seriously?”[35:43] Is there any validity to the claims that Judge Cleland does not want Kensu released?[37:18] John Engler barred news cameras from Michigan prisons forever [38:03] Do you think that this would happen if there wasn’t so much police immunity?[41:21] If we were to get rid of immunity would the police be more honest if they were fearful of a civil lawsuit? [44:06] what is the jailhouse snitch situation?[51:05] It’s important for the media to call out these wrongful convictions[54:44] Real scientific evidence is before ignored[55:31] “In your expertise around the world of wrongful convictions, Is there systemic racism?”[57:32] What are your opinions on defunding the police?[1:01:17] Should we open the doors to those who are imprisoned for marijuana offenses?[1:03:16] What are the best wrongful conviction organizations someone could support? [1:05:15] “Tell our listeners what www.SeekingJusticeBP.org is all about”[1:06:48] The Mike Morse Law Firm wants to help support your organization’s efforts and would like to talk about a program to match contributions[1:09:16] People need to read these stories and watch “The Innocence Files” on Netflix[1:16:30] Concluding remarks Watch This episode!