Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (1801 Euclid Ave.) will host the Friedman and Gilbert Criminal Justice Forum, “Picking Cotton,” Tuesday, October 6 at 5 p.m. The lecture will be delivered by Jennifer Thompson, co-author of the New York Times Best-Seller Picking Cotton and a prominent activist.
Thompson is an advocate for judicial reform, the need to combat sexual violence, abolition of the death penalty, the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, and the healing power of forgiveness. Her strong convictions were born of a brutal rape she suffered as a college student. Her compelling testimony sent a young man to a life term in prison for a crime he did not commit.
The convicted man, Ronald Cotton, was eventually freed thanks in large part to his persistence in maintaining his innocence and to newly developed DNA tests. Together they co-authored a joint memoir, Picking Cotton, which recounts their journeys, the tragedy that brought them together, and their mutual conviction that such errors must be recognized.
Thompson is commissioner for the North Carolina Innocence Commission and the president and founder of Healing Justice, a non-profit that works in aftercare for those harmed by wrongful convictions. She has appeared on numerous media outlets including "Oprah," "60 Minutes," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "20/20," "PBS Frontline," People, Newsweek and the New York Times.
The program is free and open to the public, and offers attendees one hour of free continuing legal education credit. A book signing will follow the lecture.