Founded in 1999 and based at the California Western School of Law, the California Innocence Project (CIP) reviews more than 2,000 claims of innocence from California inmates each year. To date, CIP's work has freed more than 25 individuals who have collectively spent more than 300 years in prison. Latham was honored to be recognized at CIP's annual gala with its XONR8R Award.
Los Angeles associate Bret Geckeler accepted the award on the firm's behalf, in recognition of Latham's longtime commitment to CIP and specifically its efforts on behalf of George Vizcarra. In 2002, medical experts for the state asserted that Mr. Vizcarra had caused the death of his baby daughter, and he was convicted and sent to prison. However, medical understanding of Shaken Baby Syndrome and infant head trauma has drastically shifted in recent years, supporting Mr. Vizcarra's innocence.
A team of Latham lawyers in San Diego, including partner John Wilson, associate Tom Watson, and former colleague Chris Olson, initiated Mr. Vizcarra's post-conviction proceeding. Currently, a Latham team in Los Angeles, including partner Dan Schecter, associates Bret Geckeler, Kendall Howes, and Samantha Koppel, and senior paralegal Josephine Osei-Tutu, is pursuing Mr. Vizcarra's claim with CIP and has secured an Order to Show Cause. An evidentiary hearing regarding the medical facts of this case will likely be heard in early 2018.