What is the Innocence March?
On April 27, 2013, Justin Brooks, Alissa Bjerkhoel, and Michael Semanchik of the California Innocence Project (CIP) embarked on a walk from San Diego to Sacramento. The goal of the walk was to deliver clemency petitions to then-Governor Brown and encourage him to free California Innocence Project clients who were in prison yet had compelling evidence of innocence. The walk took 55 days and spanned 712 miles, finishing on June 20, 2013, with a meeting with Governor Brown’s staff. Governor Brown’s staff did not take immediate action on the petitions. However, by the end of Brown’s term, he agreed to commute Quintin Morris’ sentence to make him instantly eligible for parole. In the meantime, CIP secured the release of five others. Governor Gavin Newsom took office in 2018 and commuted the sentences of four more. To date, all but one client has now received some sort of relief through the courts or the executive branch.
Who Are the CA 12?
The California 12 were CIP clients with strong evidence of innocence. Nevertheless, these individuals remained incarcerated due to failures within our justice system. Each of these cases varies with regard to the crimes, sentences, and facts surrounding their stories. We encourage you to read each of the CA12’s cases and learn about how our criminal justice system has failed them and us.
When on social media, look for and use the hashtags: #FreeTheCA12 #FreeCA12
How Can You Help?
1. Like and share #InnocenceMarch social media posts. Help spread the word!
Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
2. Donate to the California Innocence Project.
3. Go to our store to purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts, and wristbands.
4. Go to the Governor’s contact page and send him an email encouraging him to grant clemency for the CA 12. We’ve posted sample language here.