DEFENDERS OF THE INNOCENT
The 10th annual Illinois Innocence Project Defenders of the Innocent gala will be held Saturday, April 29, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Featured speakers will be Yusef Salaam, Salaam’s mother, Sharonne, and Charles Palmer. Salaam was one of the “Central Park Five,” five teenagers from New York wrongfully convicted of rape who were later exonerated by DNA. For 13 years, Sharonne fought tirelessly to prove the innocence of her son. Palmer is the 10th person to be exonerated through the help of the IIP, released on Nov. 23, 2016, after spending 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Additionally, Mike Schlosser, director of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, Kevin P. Carahen, attorney at Cozen O’Connor in Chicago and Sheila Stocks-Smith, president of the Urban Action Network, will be awarded the 2017 Defender of the Innocent Award. Open to the public, tickets are currently available, starting at $100 for individually reserved seats, and $900 for a reserved table of 10. For more information, visit the IIP website, http://www.uis.edu/illinoisinnocenceproject.