COL Students Aid Innocence Center’s Efforts to Challenge Inmate’s Conviction

In 1995, Debra Brown was convicted of murdering her friend and employer Lael Brown. With help from the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC), today she is challenging that conviction under a new state law that allows a person to challenge the facts of a case even without new DNA evidence.

Brown is represented by Salt Lake City attorney Alan Sullivan, who argues that her conviction was based on circumstantial evidence that was not challenged by her defense attorney at the time. RMIC, a non-profit organization that works to correct and prevent the conviction of innocent people in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming has aided Sullivan in preparing Brown’s defense. RMIC’s student clinical program includes students from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. Former RMIC Director Jensie Anderson, a clinical professor of law at the College of Law, testified as an expert witness in the trial.

Brown’s case is the first to be reviewed under a new law, enacted three years ago, that allows for the filing of a post-conviction relief petition. The matter has attracted significant attention in the print and electronic media, including stories in The Salt Lake Tribune, Logan Herald Journal and ABC 4.