Exonerated convict speaks to Criminal Law and Advocacy students

Noa Yadidi

A man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit spoke about his experiences in prison and what his life has been like since he was exonerated to students in the Criminal Law and Advocacy classes Jan. 17.

At age 19, Obie Anthony was convicted of murder in connection with a car-jacking robbery and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Anthony maintained that he was innocent, and his case was taken up around five years ago by the then-newly formed Project for the Innocent at Loyola Law School under Professor Laurie Levenson and senior fellow Adam Grant. Former Head Prefect Brooke Levin ’12 was an intern working on the case, helping with mathematics and forensics, and science teacher David Hinden, a former federal prosecutor, helped her write up her findings.

Last year, after Anthony had spent 17 years in prison, a judge found that Anthony was wrongfully convicted and released him.

In designing the new Kutler Center course on Criminal Law and Advocacy, Hinden met with Levenson in efforts to find a way to connect the class with Loyola Law School, and they decided to create a film as a way to study the case.

Hinden plans on having each of the two sections of the class create their own short film telling Anthony’s story. As a result, he has been bringing in different speakers, including Levenson and Levin, to speak to the class and be interviewed to be included in the film.

“There is a saying that better that a hundred guilty people should go free than one innocent person should be convicted, but sometimes an innocent person is convicted and it’s important to try and right that,” Hinden said.

During his visit to the class, Anthony spoke about when he found out that he was under suspicion in the case and then later charged for the crime. He took students through his conviction, his time in prison and his several unsuccessful appeals.