-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Famed Northwestern University professor David Protess, whose class helped free more than 10 innocent men from prison, won’t be teaching the investigative journalism course in the upcoming quarter. Protess will continue to head the Medill Innocence Project, but any affiliation with the journalism course is unknown.
Cook County prosecutors had subpoenaed the notes and grades of the students in what appeared to be a case of prosecutorial intimidation.
At issue is whether or not Protess gave student memos to Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions for use in defending Anthony McKinney, who has been in prison for 30 years. Any material released to the Center must also have to be made available to Cook County prosecutors, who had to file a subpoena to obtain them. If Protess didn’t release the memos to the Center, they’re considered “reporter’s privilege” and not subject to submission to the prosecutors.
Andrew M. Hale writes:
Could it be that the documents they are hiding don’t support McKinney’s claim of innocence?
Protess was notified of his removal from teaching the course in an e-mail. University spokesman Al Cubbage released a statement:
Northwestern has been conducting its own review of Professor Protess and the actions and practices of the Innocence Project. That review began last fall after questions arose regarding the accuracy and completeness of information supplied to the University by Professor Protess.
However, the laudable goal of the Innocence Project would not justify any improper actions that may have been taken by Professor Protess.
Looks like the university is not sure that Protess has been completely forthright with them.
The work of Protess and his students influenced Governor Pat Quinn’s decision last week to abolish the Illinois death penalty.