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Dedicated and Honorary Funds

The Connecticut Innocence Fund

The Connecticut Innocence Fund was created to assist newly released exonerees who have been recently released from prison based on proof of actual innocence of the crimes for which they were imprisoned. A state statute provides for compensation for such exonerees, but that process is slow and leaves newly-released exonerees without support during their first months of freedom.

This is a tax-deductible fund to provide monetary advances to assist newly-released exonerees with immediate financial needs prior to awards of compensation from the State of Connecticut. The advances will be loans, to be repaid out of the exonerees’ compensation awards, and will thereby be a self-replenishing fund.

Exoneree Kenneth Ireland assisted with the June 5, 2012 fundraising event for the Connecticut Innocence Fund.

In 1988, when I was only 18, I was arrested for the murder and sexual assault of a mother of four that occurred in Wallingford, CT. I was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in Connecticut’s maximum security prison. In 2009, when I was 39, I was finally released after serving 21 years of that sentence. The Connecticut Innocence Project was able to prove my innocence through the use of DNA testing.

On the day of my release I owned nothing, not even a toothbrush. I was helplessly reliant upon the support of family and friends for everything. Not only was I trying to reconnect with my loved ones while at the same time trying to learn the new technologies that were invented while imprisoned, I also had to deal with the burden of trying to survive in a very different world than the one I remembered. Although the days after my release were the happiest days of my life, they were also some of the scariest days. It was just another hardship that I was forced to endure. Had there been a Connecticut Innocence Fund that I could’ve utilized at that time, my transition would have been less of a burden on myself and on my family and friends. I would like to personally thank everyone who has made a donation to the Connecticut Innocence Fund. This fund will help ensure that the next exoneree will not have to go though the same struggles that I’ve had to endure.

Thank You,
Kenneth Ireland

James C. Tillman, donor and exoneree, with Attorney Karen A. Goodrow, Director of the Connecticut Innocence Project, an office of the State of Connecticut Public Defender Services

Some members of the June 5, 2012 Connecticut Innocence Fund Reception Planning Committee. Seated (l-r) Sandy Klebanoff, Tiffany Stevens, Deanne Scaringe, Peter Arakas. Standing (l-r) Sondra Bradford-Jennings, James Tillman, Deborah Witkin, Kenneth Ireland, Timothy Fisher, Liz Drummond, Maureen Price-Borland, Karen Brown

Tiffany Stevens receiving donor recognition plaque for McCarter & English (Platinum Donor) and Maureen Price-Boreland of Community Partners in Action