On October 2nd, Innocence Groups and other organizations from around the world undertake activities to raise awareness about wrongful convictions worldwide.
Wrongful Conviction Day was launched by the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) now Innocence Canada on October 2, 2014. Every year organizations, schools, businesses and individuals representing countries from around the world are involved in raising awareness concerning wrongful convictions.
Cities and towns across Canada sign proclamations in recognition of the wrongly convicted and the devastating consequences not only to the innocent individual but to their families, friends and the community.
Landmarks across Canada and elsewhere in the world illuminate in yellow and white to draw attention to this important day of recognition and validation.
Innocence Groups headquartered around the world are committed to identifying, advocating for, and helping in the exoneration of individuals who have been convicted of a serious crime, which they did not commit, and to preventing future wrongful convictions through awareness, education and justice system reform.
This campaign is to encourage organizations and the public which includes representatives of all levels of government and educational institutions to set aside one day to focus on and discuss the causes and remedies concerning wrongful convictions, which is an issue that effects and devastates individuals and societies worldwide.
Events take place across the globe. Within Canada, universities often host events on or around October 2nd. Some examples of event locations from the past years include: Ryerson University, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, and University of Ottawa.
While Wrongful Conviction Day takes place on October 2nd of every year, awareness and fundraising events take place throughout the entire month of October.
The conviction of innocent people is a local, national and international human rights issue. Wrongful convictions are serious miscarriages of justice that call into question the legitimacy and integrity of our criminal justice systems.
We believe that frank and open discussions about the causes of wrongful convictions will lead to positive change in our criminal justice systems and help reduce future wrongful convictions.
Awareness can be raised in any number of ways, including through media releases, book signings, magazines, opinion pieces for daily newspapers, interviews, educational forums, exoneree presentations, church services, vigils, film festivals, You Tube Videos, involvement in commemoration services, and through social media outlets. Truly, the sky’s the limit!
Wrongful Conviction Day Awards
The Rubin Hurricane Champion of Justice Award is given to an individual or group who has in some significant way helped champion the cause of the wrongly convicted. Past recipients include: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (2015), Peter Meier (2016), Joyce Milgaard (2017), Marlys Edwardh (2018), and Paul Copeland and Justice Melvyn Green (2019).
The Tracey Tyler Award is given to an individual or group who through the news media, documentary or film has through an article or a body of work over the years helped to expose wrongful convictions. Past recipients include: Tracey Tyler (2015), Rachel Mendleson (2016), CBC Fifth Estate (2017), Tim Bousquet (2018), and Avery Haines, Madeline McNair and CTVW5 (2019).
The Donald Marshall Junior Award will be presented annually to a wrongly convicted person who has shown great courage, determination, tenacity and endurance in staying the course to prove their innocence. It can also be given to a family member who sacrificed, stayed the course and never gave up the good fight of seeing and helping their relative prove their innocence. The inaugural award was presented in 2018 posthumously to Donald Marshall Jr. Other recipients include: Marie Coffin Stewart (2019).
Wrongful Conviction Day would not be possible without our generous sponsors. Innocence Canada thanks the following organizations, law firms and individuals for their support:
- Caramanna Friedberg LLP
- Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP
- Criminal Lawyers’ Association
- David G. Bayliss Law Firm
- Greenspan Humphrey Weinstein LLP
- Heather MacIvor
- Henein Hutchison LLP
- Jonathan Rosenthal
- King International Advisory Group Inc.
- LexisNexis Canada
- Lockyer, Campbell, Posner
- The Meier Family
- Perry & Joanne Catena
- Réjean Hinse
- Shepherd Advocacy & Litigation