National Legal-Aid Clinic Will Start Program in Mississippi

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The national, nonprofit legal-aid clinic will start a program in Mississippi. The Innocence Project will expand its New Orleans office to Mississippi beginning September 1.

Two recent law school graduates who are awaiting Mississippi Bar admission results have been assigned to handle Innocence Project Mississippi.

A case in which two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of taking about $10 at gunpoint is among the Mississippi convictions being reviewed by the legal-aid clinic.

The Innocence Project was instrumental in winning a new trial last year for former Mississippi death-row inmate Kennedy Brewer.

The 31-year-old Brewer was the first inmate in the state to win a new trial based on DNA test results. He was convicted in 1995 of the strangulation of three-year-old Christine Jackson, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend, Gloria Jackson. The girl also was sexually assaulted.

In May 2002, tests on DNA samples recovered from the victim excluded Brewer and detected the DNA of two unknown people. A new trial date has not been set.

The Mississippi Innocence Project program will operate out of New Orleans, but officials hope to soon find an office in the state.