KINGS THEATRE, BROOKLYN PRESENTS WRONGFUL CONVICTION LIVE!
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
JASON FLOM’S POPULAR PODCAST TAKES TO THE STAGE
FOR A ONE-NIGHT-ONLY LIVE AUDIENCE EVENT TO BENEFIT
THE INNOCENCE PROJECT
EVENT WILL FEATURE OUTSPOKEN EXONEREES AMANDA KNOX, SABRINA BUTLER, MICHELLE MURPHY AND NOURA JACKSON
Brooklyn, NY: Jason Flom is bonafide record mogul. After all, from the helm of his own Lava Records and Lava Music Publishing, as well as time previously served as Chairman and CEO at Atlantic Records, Virgin Records, and Capitol Music Group, Flom is personally responsible for launching mega-successful acts such as Kid Rock, Katy Perry, and Lorde, among others.
But a growing number of citizens, activists, and journalists have more recently come to embrace Jason Flom as a nationally recognized activist. He is the Founding Board Member of the Innocence Project. He serves on the boards of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, The Bronx Defenders Fund, The Drug Policy Alliance, The Legal Action Center, The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, NYU Prison Education Program, Proclaim Justice and VetPaw.
All told, Jason Flom is one of the strongest voices in the country in the fight against injustice in the American criminal system.
To further bring the issues, and perhaps more importantly, the powerful stories behind the issues into the shores of light, Flom hit the digital airwaves on October 3, 2016, with an immediately reactive podcast, Wrongful Conviction, and within the first two weeks, it shot to #7 on the iTunes charts. Now in its fifth season, Wrongful Conviction has reached over five millions listeners worldwide. The podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, and Spotify. Based on the files of the lawyers who freed them, Wrongful Conviction features interviews with men and women who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit, some even sentenced to death.
We are proud to announce that, on Wednesday, June 27th, the Kings Theatre, Brooklyn will play host to the first ever Wrongful Conviction Live, bringing Flom, along with four remarkable, and outspoken exonerees, Amanda Knox, Sabrina Butler, Michelle Murphy and Noura Jackson to the stage to tell their stories. The event will benefit the Innocence Project. Says Flom of the event, “It is my mission to right the wrongs of our bloated and broken criminal justice system, and to help the people who have been victimized by it. I’m excited to bring Wrongful Conviction, to the stage to further this cause! “ says Flom.
Wrongful Conviction Live is a collaborative production with the venue itself. Speaking in its anticipation, Kings Theatre, Brooklyn General Manager Tyler Bates says, “I am proud to work alongside Jason in producing a live experience. This event promises to be more interesting than just a few people sitting around a table and a microphone. What we are hoping for is to engage the audience itself in a meaningful way- to have these women tell their stories, to shine a light on the hardships of their time served, and to acknowledge others who have been wrongfully convicted and who still remain behind bars. I’ve been hearing a lot of heartbreaking stories similar to those of the women participating in the event at Kings, and I, personally, have become more passionate about wanting to join Jason Flom’s mission.”
Amanda Knox is an exoneree, journalist, speaker, and author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, Waiting to Be Heard (HarperCollins, April 2013). Between 2007 and 2015, she spent four years in an Italian prison and eight years on trial for a murder she didn’t commit. The controversy over Amanda’s case made international headlines for nearly a decade, and thrust her into the spotlight, where she was vilified and shamed. Amanda now works to shed light on the issues of wrongful conviction, truth seeking, and public shaming. Her journalism has been published in USA Today, the L.A. Times, the Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, BROADLY, and the West Seattle Herald. She is currently the host of The Scarlet Letter Reports, a VICE series about the public vilification of women, available on Facebook Watch. She lives in Seattle with her partner, the novelist Christopher Robinson.
Knox says, “I feel a deep kinship with my fellow exonerees, the vast majority of whom are men. There are few women. Only about 1 in 10. And though our brothers embrace us as equals, there are several things that distinguish us. I’m honored to stand with Noura, Sabrina, and Michelle to discuss what it means to be accused as women, and what perspective wrongfully convicted women have to offer to the #MeToo movement.”
On September 12th, 1994, 17-year-old Michelle Murphy found her 15-week-old son stabbed to death in her kitchen. After being questioned without a parent or guardian present, which was prohibited under Oklahoma law, Michelle Murphy falsely confessed to the crime. Her 14-year-old neighbor William Lee testified during the preliminary hearing that he had walked around her house that evening and reportedly saw Ms. Murphy with the dead infant but did not report it to the police. Testing of blood at the scene of the crime excluded Michelle Murphy as a suspect, but at trial prosecution falsely implied that it matched Ms. Murphy’s blood type. In 1995, Michelle Murphy was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. She was forced to give her only living child up for adoption, daughter Michelle. In 2014, the Innocence Project joined Ms. Murphy’s defense and conducted more DNA testing, yielding results that the bloodstains at the crime scene revealed an unidentified male present that night. On September 12th, 2014, Michelle Murphy was declared innocent, after having spent 20 years behind bars.
Michelle says that her goals now are to, “Educate society on corrupt systems, speak for those who have had their vocal chords crushed by the justice system, and help bring more innocent people home who have been wrongfully imprisoned.”
Noura Jackson was egregiously framed and wrongfully convicted of murdering her mother, Jennifer Jackson, in Memphis, TN in 2005. Amazingly she spent over three years in jail awaiting trial before being sentenced to 20 years and nine months in prison. No physical evidence linked Ms. Jackson to the murder, and DNA testing not only excluded her as a suspect, but it also suggested that two or three different people were present at the crime scene. The Supreme Court of Tennessee overturned her conviction, unanimously in 2014, and in their 5-0 decision they made strong statements about the misconduct that took place during her trial. The prosecutors threatened to retry Ms. Jackson, and she was faced with little choice but to accept an Alford Plea in 2015. Noura Jackson was then sent back to prison for 15 months before she was finally released in 2016, after serving 11 years in prison.
Sabrina Butler-Smith was a Mississippi teenager who was convicted of murder and child abuse in the death of her nine-month-old son, Walter. She was later exonerated of all wrongdoing. She is one of only two women in the United States exonerated from death row.
On April 12, 1989, teenage mother Sabrina rushed Walter to the hospital after he suddenly stopped breathing. Doctors had attempted to resuscitate the child for thirty minutes, but failed, and Sabrina’s baby died the next day. The very day of her son’s death, Sabrina was arrested for child abuse due to the bruises left by her resuscitation attempts.
Sabrina’s murder trial commenced in March 1990. At the trial, prosecutors sought to prove that Sabrina’s account of the events leading to her son’s death were false, and that she had inflicted the fatal wounds intentionally. Sabrina did not testify at her trial, and was convicted of both murder and child abuse, becoming the only woman on Mississippi’s Death Row at the time.
Following her conviction, Sabrina filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The courts reversed and remanded her convictions in August 1992, declaring that the prosecution had failed to prove that the incident was anything more than an accident.
In 1995, Sabrina’s case went to retrial. At the trial, one of Sabrina’s neighbors had come forward with evidence that corroborated her account that the injuries to her son occurred during the course of an unsuccessful attempt to administer CPR. In addition, the medical examiner changed his opinion about Walter’s cause of death, which he now believed occurred due to a kidney malady. On December 17, 1995, Sabrina was exonerated after spending more than five years in prison and 33 months on death row.
Sabrina currently works with abolitionist groups, including Witness to Innocence, which is the only organization in the US whose members have all been committed to death row and were innocent. She is also involved in TADP – Tennesseans Against the Death Penalty – with the mission to bring awareness to wrongful convictions within the criminal justice system.
You can read more about Sabrina’s story in her book, Exonerated: The Sabrina Butler Story. She now lives in Memphis, Tennessee and has three thriving children.
“I choose to fight this fight of injustice so what happened to me will not happen to anyone else. Fight to win!” – Sabrina Butler-Smith
Exonerated: The Sabrina Butler Story The Penalty Film, featuring Sabrina Butler.
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