By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Thursday, September 15, the Oklahoma Innocence Project (OKIP) will host “A Conversation with Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter” followed by a Meet & Greet event. These two men were recently exonerated because of the tireless legal advocacy work done by the Oklahoma Innocence Project.
The discussion will take place at the Oklahoma City University of Law, in McLaughlin Hall (3rd floor); 800 N. Harvey Avenue from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Event entry will be on the north side of the building, off of 8th Street.
With the assistance of the OKIP, on May 9, Scott and Carpenter were found innocent of a crime in which they were convicted nearly 22 years earlier.
“Join us for a conversation with these two remarkable men. Hear from them first-hand about their fight for justice, and learn how your support of the Oklahoma Innocence Project helped them to walk as free men,’ said event organizers.
OKIP Executive Director, Vicki Behenna will lead the conversation about this landmark court case. A Q&A will follow prior to the Meet and Greet.
Since opening in August 2011, the OKIP has worked to free Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter, recently exonerated in May. The two men had been in prison for over 20 years, wrongfully convicted of murder in a 1994 Tulsa County drive-by shooting.
OKIP’s Legal Director, Christina Green and co-counsel, Josh Lee, represented Scott and former prosecutor, now OKIP Executive Director Vicki Behenna, and Ken Sue Doerfel represented Carpenter. Both Lee and Doerful volunteered their legal expertise for the case.
The Project earned its first exonerations when Tulsa County District Court Judge Sharon Holmes freed Scott and Carpenter.
“There are really no words to adequately describe this moment. Malcolm and De’Marchoe have spent more than half their lives behind bars for something they didn’t do,” said Behenna, as reported by The City Sentinel editor Patrick McGuigan at the time of the ruling. “They have been waiting for this day; their families have been waiting for this day for 20-plus years. We are so grateful to Judge Holmes for righting this terrible wrong.”
Following Judge Holmes decision Green stated, “They have become part of our lives and we are privileged to be part of theirs. Malcolm and De’Marchoe’s futures start today and we are ecstatic to stand by them as they walk away from the past and start their lives as free men.”
Located in the OCU Law building, the Oklahoma Innocence Project is the only organization in Oklahoma dedicated to identifying and remedying cases of wrongful conviction in the state.
Under the supervision of Project staff, students work on Project cases while learning about the inner-workings of the criminal justice system.
“The main causes of wrongful conviction are eyewitness misidentification, unvalidated and improper forensic science, false confessions, informants, government misconduct and inadequate defense,” an OCU press release stated.
OKIP operates entirely on private donations and all services are offered free of charge to the clients. To make a donation, click here.
To find out where Scott and Carpenter are today, attend this free discussion and Meet & Greet on Sept. 15. Online registration is encouraged.
To learn more about the Oklahoma Innocence Project, visit innocence.okcu.edu.