Zabel lauds work of Pennsylvania Innocence Project in Capitol

HARRISBURG, May 14 The state House of Representatives today unanimously approved Rep. Mike Zabel’s resolution marking the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, whose experts have helped exonerate eight Pennsylvanians since 2009.

Pennsylvania has marked 67 exonerations in its history, according to the National Registry of Exonerations and according to the project, the wrongfully convicted served over 800 years of prison time while innocent.

Since 2009, the project’s experts have exonerated cases for eight Pennsylvanians.

“Thanks to fantastic public collaboration, including from the state, the project has accomplished nothing short of miracles for wrongfully convicted Pennsylvanians and their loved ones,” Zabel said. “Few can imagine the horror and terror of serving time for a crime you did not commit, and the project will work until no one has to.”

The project also provides clinical training to tomorrow’s law, journalism, criminal justice and forensic science professionals while collaborating with law enforcement agencies and the courts to address systemic factors of wrongful convictions.

Attending Monday's ceremony were Pennsylvania Innocence Project Executive Director Marissa B. Bluestine, members of the board of directors Jeffery Bresch from Pittsburgh and Board President Howard Scher from Philadelphia, as well as founding board members David Richman and Anthony Creamer, both of Philadelphia.

In 2009, when he was a law student at Temple, Zabel was one of the project’s first interns, helping screen and evaluate potential cases.

“Ten years later as a state representative, I am especially moved to be able to honor the project this way,” Zabel said. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their unanimous support.”