Proponents marched from downtown San Diego to Ocean Beach on Monday with one goal: to push for the exoneration of 11 California prisoners they say were wrongfully convicted.
Monday’s march, organized by the California Innocence Project, marks the two-year anniversary of when the group walked more than 600 miles from San Diego to Sacramento.
The purpose: to ask the governor to grant clemency to 12 people at that time sitting in prison. Today, one of them has been freed and the message remains the same.
Among those who turned out for the march were Nick Yarris, who spent 20 years in prison before his exoneration, as well as Tim Atkins, also exonerated after a 23-year sentence.
Glenn Boyd was released from prison three weeks ago.
“I did 27 and a half years for a crime that I did not commit,” he said. “I’ve been home since April 2. This is a lot to take in today.”
Just last week, a Southern California man was exonerated after spending 36 years behind bars.
Another march attendee, Darleen Long, said she’s still waiting for vindication. Her daughter, Michelle, is still serving a life sentence after being convicted of murder her boyfriend, though Innocence Project lawyers said they have evidence that could prove otherwise.
“Mistakes are being made and they need to be corrected,” Long said. “You cannot leave innocent Americans in prison in their own country.”
While it has a number of branches throughout the United States, the California Innocence Project launched in San Diego at Cal Western School of Law in 1999.
The group handles more than 1,500 cases per year, all of which are pro bono.