Grammy Award-winning singer Gladys Knight will headline the Oklahoma City University School of Law's “A Night for the Innocent” gala Thursday at the historic Farmers Public Market.
The black-tie gala benefits OCU Law's Oklahoma Innocence Project (OIP), which seeks to rectify wrongful convictions in Oklahoma.
“A Night for the Innocent” will include food, fine wine and a live auction, in addition to Knight's performance of hits such as “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” and the No. 1 smash “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The reception starts at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
Honorary co-chairs Melvin and Jasmine Moran and Jerry and Jackie Bendorf will present the Beacon of Justice Award to Drew Edmondson, Barry and Becky Switzer and Dr. R. Cullen and Bonnie
The award is presented annually by OCU School of Law to one or more individuals or institutions in recognition of their leadership in seeking to rectify and prevent wrongful convictions.
The evening also will include remarks from Lawrence C. Marshall, co-founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.
Currently serving as associate dean for clinical education and director of the Mills Legal Clinic at Stanford Law School, Marshall is a renowned advocate for reform of the U.S. criminal justice system. While at Northwestern, Marshall represented wrongly convicted inmates — many on death row — including Juan Rivera. Marshall served as lead appellate attorney for Rivera, who was released from an Illinois prison in January after serving 19 years for a murder he did not commit.
The Oklahoma Innocence Project joins the Center on Wrongful Convictions and more than 70 other innocence projects across the country in addressing wrongful convictions. Launched in August 2011, the program brings together OCU law students and local attorneys who work with the program's director to pursue cases in which there is credible evidence of innocence.
More than 450 requests from convicted individuals asking for their cases to be reviewed have been received since the program began.
All proceeds raised from “A Night for the Innocent” will support the program, which is funded by private donations.
To secure a sponsorship, go to law.
Tickets are $150 each, or $100 for student tickets. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Josh Snavely, Interim Assistant Dean for Advancement, by calling 208-7100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.