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RMIC’s Wrongful Conviction Day

Homecoming Celebration

Wrongful Conviction Day invite 2023This year, we celebrate Wrongful Conviction Day in honor and in the presence of RMIC clients who have returned to their homes and families after serving decades in prison.  

Register Now! 

This is not just another fundraiser event but a moment in time where we recognize that we’ve made progress, but there’s still much work to be done. RMIC could not do the work we do without supporters like you!  

Not everyone’s path to freedom looks the same, so come and learn more about their struggles, successes, and the help they’ve had along the way. You will also be treated to an exclusive live performance by professional saxophonist Cal Bennett and appearances from other special guests. You won’t want to miss it!  

If you are unable to attend, please consider donating here

Sponsorships are still available, so please contact Kristy Columbia at kcolumbia@rminnocence.org for more information!


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Save The Date

RMIC Wrongful Conviction Day Homecoming Celebration

RMIC Wrongful Conviction Day Homecoming Celebration oct 5.jpg

Registration is coming soon!


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Hope for the Innocent Breakfast

Rocky Mountain Innocence Center is a 501(c)(3) that relies solely on the financial support of our community members and businesses to allow us to continue providing 100% pro bono legal services for our clients in Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming that have been wrongfully convicted and represent mostly indigent clients who are also people of color. Our annual Hope for the Innocent Breakfast is our largest fundraising event each year, and this year will be no exception.

The Hope for the Innocent Breakfast is back in person this year for the first time since 2019, and in RMIC’s 23rd year, we are thrilled to be joined by our Keynote Speaker and exoneree, Ricky Kidd, who served 23 years for a murder he did not commit. You can learn more about Ricky here and the amazing work he has done for the Innocence Network and for the freed and exonerated: https://linktr.ee/IAR

We are proud to be hosted this year by the Hilton Salt Lake City Center and to have the support of our sponsors, including The Florence J. Gillmor Foundation, who will generously match up to $100,000 in support of RMIC’s work at this event:

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Here’s Your RMIC 2022 Recap!

Dear Friends of RMIC:

Since 2000, the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center has been working hard in pursuit of our mission to prevent and correct wrongful convictions in the states of Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming. This mission has guided our work through this last year, and we have remained steadfast through 2022 with that in mind.

I am happy to share with you some of the changes and accomplishments from this year!

Organization Updates:

RMIC Board Event picI was selected by RMIC’s Executive Committee as the new Executive Director in June, and shortly thereafter, we moved our offices from the University of Utah to downtown Salt Lake City. We have made many new friends and met amazing neighbors down here!

We also added to our Board, including our new Board President, Kurt London, of Swapp & Associates, who previously served as a clinic student and Legal Fellow at RMIC; Allison Blais of Adobe Inc.; private practitioners Jonny Jemming and James Lee, and ClydeSnow Associate Attorney Katey Pepin.

Case Successes:

Most COVID restrictions have been lifted, allowing our Managing Attorney, Jennifer Springer, and Legal Fellow, Amanda Darcy, to return to client visits, witness interviews, and travel for our cases.

This year, RMIC received two favorable Nevada Supreme Court decisions, including a remand for DNA testing and a remand in another case for an evidentiary hearing based on the court’s interpretation of the recently-enacted Factual Innocence statute that we helped pass with the assistance of our exoneree DeMarlo Berry.  We look forward to substantial, continued litigation in each of these cases.

Client Successes:

RMIC Michael ThompsonOur clients have also experienced great successes this year, including Michael Thompson,  RMIC’s 8th exoneration as of August 30, 2022, when Utah Judge Su Chon found him factually innocent and ordered compensation of nearly $300,000 for the nearly seven years he spent wrongfully incarcerated.

Mr. Thompson was convicted of two felony offenses in Utah, which he was unable to commit because he was not physically present in the state at the time the offenses occurred.

This year we also have three clients that have been or are about to be paroled, all of which were incarcerated for more than twenty years, two of which RMIC, specifically our Managing Attorney Jennifer Springer, worked tirelessly and successfully to advocate for their release.

Legislative Successes:

In the prevention component of our mission, we were a part of the successful passing of an evidence-preservation bill that took effect this Summer that will require all physical evidence be preserved for the duration of an individual’s incarceration so that possible exculpatory evidence that could be obtained through DNA will be available for testing.

Historically, there was no obligation by state agencies or actors in criminal cases – post-conviction – to keep that evidence. In fact, it was usually destroyed, thereby preventing wrongfully convicted individuals from obtaining DNA testing to establish their innocence.  This is a huge success!

Dean and Sammy pic

Wrongful Conviction Day Fundraiser

RMIC celebrated Wrongful Conviction Day on September 29th in a hugely successful event at The Leonardo.  We were joined by many friends and supporters, old and new, and we welcomed exoneree Dean Gillispie to speak to our guests, along with Emmy-award winning journalist Sammy Linebaugh.

I hope to see you all again at our celebration next year!  Every time you attend one of our events, donate to RMIC, or share one of our stories with friends or on social media, you push our fight forward and bring us that much closer to getting our clients home.

Donate to RMIC this Holiday Season

Beginning this Giving Tuesday, November 29, 2022, and through the rest of the year, consider making a tax-deductible donation to RMIC.  Your donation helps us pay for things, such as expert fees, DNA testing, prison visits, and the many other costs of investigating and litigating on behalf of wrongfully convicted individuals in Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming, and it also allows us to continue to address the systemic problems in the criminal legal system.

giving tuesdayWe currently have 50 cases that are in active litigation or investigation, and we receive 15-25 requests for assistance each month.  With your donation, we can help free those innocent clients waiting to prove their innocence.  With your help, we can continue the fight and bring our clients home to their family and loved ones.  You can help make a difference in the lives of the innocent. Simply click the “Donate” button below or send a check to: Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, 358 South 700 East, B235, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102.

Donate Now

Have a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends and stay tuned for more great things to come from your friends here at the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.




Kristy Columbia

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Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, Professor Jensie L. Anderson, and Parr Brown Gee & Loveless Attorneys Obtain Exoneration and Compensation


Contact: Kristy Columbia, Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Innocence
Center Phone: (801) 355-1888
Email: kcolumbia@rminnocence.org

Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, Professor Jensie L. Anderson, and Parr Brown Gee & Loveless Attorneys Obtain Exoneration and Compensation

SEPTEMBER 06, 2022, SALT LAKE CITY – On May 16, 2008, Michael W. Thompson was sentenced to two concurrent terms of not less than five years to life in prison after being convicted by a Salt Lake County Jury of two counts of Forcible Sodomy. His convictions were reversed in January 2014, and the State did not pursue a new trial against him and dismissed his charges in April 2014, after Mr. Thompson served nearly seven years in prison.

The Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC), along with Professor Jensie L. Anderson, who also co-founded RMIC, began investigating Mr. Thompson’s claim of innocence in 2015. Parr Brown Gee & Loveless joined RMIC and Professor Anderson in litigating the case, and a Petition for Determination of Factual Innocence was filed in March 2017. The petition pointed to newly discovered evidence that, when viewed with all the other evidence, would ultimately prove Mr. Thompson’s innocence, including findings that the testimony of a State’s expert witness was based on faulty and inaccurate software reports and calculations that would have made Mr. Thompson’s presence in the state to commit the alleged acts impossible.

On August 30, 2022, the Honorable Judge Su J. Chon signed a memorandum decision granting Mr. Thompson’s Petition for Factual Innocence and awarding him nearly $300,000 for the seven years he was incarcerated, in accordance with Utah statutory law. Judge Chon also denied the State’s motion alleging that Mr. Thompson, along with his wife, destroyed evidence in the case.

The Rocky Mountain Innocence Center works to correct and prevent the wrongful conviction of innocent people in Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming. RMIC advocates for systemic reform to improve the justice system and to create meaningful opportunities for the wrongfully convicted to prove their innocence and to receive compensation for unjust incarceration. For more information go to www.rminnocence.org, call (801)355-1888, or email RMIC Executive Director, Kristy Columbia, at kcolumbia@rminnocence.org.

Professor Jensie L. Anderson teaches legal methods, innocence investigation and post-conviction process, criminal process, lawyering skills, and introduction to law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, which she joined in 1999. She also served as President of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center from 2001 until 2011 and as its co-founder and Pro Bono Legal Director from 1999 until 2022. She was awarded Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2014.

The award-winning Salt Lake City office of Parr Brown Gee & Loveless employs numerous talented litigators and business attorneys. The firm provides broad and comprehensive legal services to corporate and individual clients in areas such as commercial litigation, bankruptcy, employment law, and real estate law, and they have been recognized statewide and nationally for their services. For more information, visit www.parrbrown.com.

Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, Professor Jensie L. Anderson, and Parr Brown Gee & Loveless Attorneys Obtain Exoneration and Compensation“This is an amazing feeling. After 20 years, our family is finally free from this nightmare. They say the wheels of justice are slow, and that is the truth, but thank the Lord above. We had some amazing people in our corner to help us fight this injustice to the end. We can’t say ‘Thank You’ enough to all of our family and friends that fought alongside of us. Thank you to: the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center – they are truly there to help right the wrongs of those that have been wrongfully convicted; the amazing dedication from everyone at Parr Brown Gee & Loveless attorneys for all the hours of selfless dedication to our family to make sure Michael’s name was cleared is beyond amazing; Jensie Anderson, you have been through it all with us. You are a gift sent from the heavens to us!

All we can say is … anyone that has been wrongfully convicted of a crime: Never give up. Yes, it may take a lot longer than it should, but it is the most amazing feeling when it is done. Never give up on yourself or each other.” – From The Thompson Family – Mike, Darci, and Star

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The Beehive State Must Not Risk the Execution of the Innocent By Allowing the Death Penalty

There are situations where convictions are overturned, and nobody should ever be wrongfully imprisoned. Recently, an article was featured in Desert News. Written by Jensie Anderson, the legal director of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project (RMIC), the article shines a light on the dangers of wrongful convictions. According to the article, “2,872 imprisoned men and women have been proven innocent nationwide. One hundred eighty-six of the people exonerated had been sentenced to death.”

Many people believe that this is a problem of the past, thinking that DNA is the answer to all crimes; however, it is only available in fewer than 10 percent of all cases. Therefore, DNA alone cannot determine someone’s guilt or innocence, particularly when it is not always available. 

While nobody on death row in Utah has been proven innocent after being executed, this might happen in the future. For this reason, it might be time to get rid of the death penalty before this tragedy takes place.

Check out the full article by Jensie Anderson on Desert News, and consider supporting the cause by donating to the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project.

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[Video] Wrongful Conviction Day is TODAY

October 2, 2021 is the Eighth Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, a day to raise awareness about the causes and remedies of wrongful conviction and to recognize the tremendous personal, social, and emotional costs of wrongful conviction for directly impacted people and their families. It began in 2013 as an initiative of the Innocence Network, a coalition of 68 organizations around the world dedicated to providing pro-bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted; working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions; and supporting the exonerated after they are freed.

Wrongful Conviction Day 2021

This Wrongful Conviction Day, we consider the many fights that are ongoing despite the many victories that we celebrate. More than 2,800 people have been exonerated in the US since 1989, but the fight continues for the thousands who remain wrongfully incarcerated. It takes years and, in many cases, decades to achieve an exoneration. Here at the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, we have exonerated 7 people and we are currently working with 60 clients in Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming. These wins are especially meaningful knowing how difficult the fight for freedom is, but we must remember that our fight continues on behalf of our clients who are still inside.

The long term impact of a wrongful conviction

The fight also continues for freed and exonerated people who face new battles upon their release. For many, getting out of prison is only the beginning. Among other things, freed clients face challenges securing housing and employment, building economic security, and reestablishing relationships. They also face the stigma of incarceration and mental and physical health impacts sustained from living in carceral settings. Reentering society can be a long-term process, and there is no perfect template. On Wrongful Conviction Day, it is vital that we acknowledge this fight too.

Wrongful Conviction Legislation and Awareness

Lastly, the fight continues for all of us who work to prevent the multitude of injustices that lead to wrongful convictions in the first place. We have seen considerable progress in the last year. Although RMIC’s primary mission is to bring the innocent home from prison, we are also deeply involved in educating policymakers on criminal justice reform. Read more about our accomplishments here. Yet, there is so much more work to do.

wrongful conviction fundraising donation button

We are grateful for your support and honored to fight alongside you.


Blair Hodson, Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Innocence Center

WCD2021: The Fight Continues

In honor of Wrongful Conviction Day, all donations to RMIC will be matched up to $100,000, thanks to the generosity of the Florence J Gillmor Foundation.

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Join Us to Celebrate Innocence Work!

Please join us for a celebration of the 21st Anniversary of Rocky Mountain Innocence Center!

Attendance is complimentary. Your donations will be greatly appreciated. Seating is limited.

Please RSVP at contact@rminnocence.org with your name(s), email address(es) and number of guests.


RMIC 2021 Gala Invitation


RMIC 2021 gala


Please join us to celebrate innocence work on September 30th, 6th Floor Outdoor Terrace, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

Thursday, September 30, 2021
Heavy Hors D’oeuvres and Cocktails, 5:30 p.m.
Program, 7 p.m.

Virtual Fundraiser

Donate to our 2021 campaign: RMIC 2021 Virtual Fundraiser – hope for the Innocent

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Call For More Utah Counties To Set Up Conviction Integrity Units

Only a few Utah counties have set up review boards to help free the wrongfully convicted, Michael Locklear of KUTV reports. As featured on KJZZ.com, Tuesday, August 26: This article includes: 

  • Conviction integrity units
  • 4 Utah counties have created them
  • A call for more counties to set up the units
  • Jensie Anderson’s response to Tuesday’s announcement

Excerpt: SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — The Rocky Mountain Innocence Center is calling for more counties in Utah to set up conviction integrity units, which are essentially review boards that work to free people who’ve been wrongfully convicted.

Jensie Anderson, legal director for the Center, said Utah is “a little behind the curve.” She said her nonprofit is willing to help smaller counties establish units.

“I think all of the counties ultimately should probably have one,” she said.

The first convictions to be overturned through this relatively new process are in the works, announced Tuesday by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

Read the rest of the article here: https://kjzz.com/news/local/only-a-few-utah-counties-have-set-up-review-boards-to-help-free-the-wrongfully-convicted


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Clark County OKs Share Of $14.5M Payout To Wrongfully Imprisoned DeMarlo Berry

Beyond thrilled to share this great news: DeMarlo Berry was awarded $14.5M payout last week as a results of his wrongful conviction of which he served over 22 years. DeMarlo was sentenced to life in prison plus a consecutive 25 years in 1995. The conviction was vacated after Berry secured assistance years earlier from the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center and following a reopened investigation by the district attorney’s newly formed conviction review unit.

Read the article here:

Clark County OKs share of $14.5M payout to wrongfully imprisoned man

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