There are a lot of people who are responsible for the New England Innocence Project and its work over the years, but perhaps no one more so than Joseph F. Savage, Jr., now a partner at GoodwinProcter. Joe began to think about an organized response to wrongful convictions in 1997 after Peter Neufeld, one of the founders of the Innocence Project based in New York, spoke at the annual dinner of the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL). Joe was at that dinner.
"I had left the United States Attorney's office after several years and was a litigation partner at Testa Hurwitz and Thibeault, LLP at the time of the MACDL dinner. I heard Peter speak about the urgent need for lawyers to take these cases and immediately thought it was an interesting project. Afterwards, I mentioned it to a junior associate at Testa who knew that Stan Fisher, a criminal law professor at Boston University Law School, was interested in the issue, so he connected Stan and I. We discussed how to create a network of lawyers and law students to review potential cases and networked with others doing the work locally. The first Board came out of those conversations.
We saw a problem that ultimately only lawyers could solve, knew we could be part of the solution if we could organize and get resources to support the lawyers and law students who wanted to address the issue. So we gathered people together and let it be known we were available to review wrongful convictions.
After that the boxes began arriving....."