The Innocence Project: Stories of Exoneration

by on March 27, 2023 · 0 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Ocean Beach

By Camden Painton / The Point / March 22, 2023

Marilyn Mulero was 21 years old when she received her execution date.

On May 12, 1992, two members of the Latin Kings gang were shot and killed in a bathroom in Humboldt Park in Chicago. There was one eyewitness to the shooting. The witness claimed to see a woman hand Mulero a gun, who then shot a man dead at midnight. Mulero was picked up by police the next evening and brought into the station, where she was denied legal representation and questioned for over nine hours.

Without counsel or sleep, Mulero signed a prepared statement that implicated her for both murders. Mulero’s lawyer, Jeremiah Lynch, advised her to take a plea bargain without any investigation of the case, paving the way for Mulero’s death sentence.

Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project (CIP), says that Mulero’s story changed his life. The injustice of her case not only inspired him to become a lawyer but also served as the driving force behind starting the non-profit organization the CIP, founded in 1999. According to their website, the CIP has three missions: freeing the wrongfully convicted from prison, working to reform the criminal justice system and training law students to become zealous advocates.

Brooks visited Point Loma Nazarene University on March 16, 2023 to speak to an Introduction to Criminal Justice class on the work he has done throughout his career. Marshall Fields, adjunct professor of the course, invited Brooks to speak to his class because of how the Innocence Project changed his perception of the criminal justice system.

“The criminal justice system is oftentimes neither just nor does it end in justice,” Fields said. “We slot criminal defendants into our bad categories in our minds. Slotting people into the bad rolls makes it easier to ignore injustices that these characters face; makes it easier to turn the page when we read about them in the news and; makes it easier to fill-in the story to make human or civil rights violations against these individuals make sense in our narrative.”

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For more information on the California Innocence Project, go here  . visit


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