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Nominations Requested
Leaguer of the Year

As we approach our Annual Meeting, it’s time to nominate a Leaguer of the Year, an award presented to any League member who our membership feels has gone above and beyond in furthering the mission and values of our League over the past year. If you’d like to nominate someone for this honor, please e-mail your recommendation to Kathy Tosh by May 15, at info@lwvmclean.org.

Group at 2015 Annual Dinner

What a night!
2015 LWV Annual Dinner

Over a hundred people attended the League of Women Voter's Annual Dinner and Fundraiser held at the Bloomington-Airport Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites on April 22. A social hour with a buffet and a silent auction kicked off the evening's events. This was followed by a very interesting presentation by speakers from the Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield.

John Hanlon, Executive Director and Legal Director, began the talk by providing background information on the group and the work they are doing. The group was started in 2001 to evaluate and investigate cases where there is a credible claim of an Illinois inmate’s actual innocence, and, when appropriate, provide legal representation and/or other assistance toward proving the inmate’s actual innocence The United States is remarkable in that it leads the world in percentage of population that is incarcerated, and Illinois is consistently one of the top two states in the number of wrongful convictions/releases. Illinois Innocence has grown from a staff of four workers to over 50 people. Since its inception, it has won eight exonerations or releases.

Hanlon shared his wish that one day Illinois Innocence Project will no longer be necessary. Although, he admits while this is unrealistic, the group is advocating for legislative changes that would reduce wrongful convictions. These includes a requirement for videotaping of interrogations, more stringent rules on how lineups are conducted, and stronger procedures for evidence preservation. He also stressed that when an innocent person is imprisoned for a crime, that means the actual culprit is still walking free.

Staff attorney Gwen Jordan then talked about women’s impact on the criminal justice system over the years, starting with the formation of the Protective Agency for Women and Children (later the Legal Aid Society of Chicago) in 1886. Throughout its history, the Legal Aid Society has fought for many reforms in its commitment to the concept of free legal assistance for the poor.

Client Anthony Murray, who served 15 years of a 43-year sentence before he was released, addressed the group. He told how God gave him the will to fight and how he studied and wrote petitions for years until his case caught the attention of the Innocence Project. He gave insight in the difficulty of a released prisoner finding a job and is thankful that he has finally succeeded in that. He is also working with others to change his community by decreasing violence and drugs. Murray said that, through belief and hard work and the efforts of the Innocence Project, he is facing a brighter future.

Links to Events of Interest

Annual Meeting

Time:  7:00 p.m.
Place:  McLean Cty Government Ctr
            115 E. Washington St, Bl

This important meeting will deal with Programs, Bylaws, Budget, and Election of Officers for the coming year. But this meeting will not be just about "League business." It will be an opportunity to celebrate our League’s accomplishments over the past year and a chance to participate in shaping the direction we will be taking in the future. What a wonderful way to get together and thank all the wonderful volunteers that have made this year so successful!

Click here to review important information prior to the meeting:

  • Recommended Program Studies for 2015-16
  • Program Positions for 2015-16
  • Nominations for 2015-16.