Group photo, with Rick Fried on the right

From left, Dean Avi Soifer, Hawaiʻi Innocence Project associate director Jennifer Brown, co-director Kenneth Lawson, former co-director Randy Roth and new co-director Rick Fried.

One of the state’s most successful litigators will co-lead the Hawaiʻi Innocence Project (HIP) at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

L. Richard “Rick” Fried Jr. has been named HIP volunteer co-director. He replaces Randy Roth, former co-director and emeritus professor.

Fried joins Kenneth Lawson, HIP co-director and faculty specialist, under whose leadership the program has expanded to accept a larger number of cases and to involve many more attorneys from the community. HIP is one of the most popular legal clinics for law students.

Each year student teams and supervising attorneys review hundreds of requests from prisoners claiming innocence. To date, three incarcerated Hawaiʻi men have been released thanks to HIP.

Fried, who has already been assisting HIP as a volunteer supervising attorney, said he hopes to share his decades of experience in the courtroom.

“I was very surprised to learn how many innocent people were incarcerated for crimes they did not commit,” he said. “Many of these people are wrongfully incarcerated due to misidentification at a lineup or being picked out from photographs.”

HIP recently won a $567,206 federal grant to assist in DNA testing that often provides conclusive evidence of innocence in disputed cases. The grant application pointed out that, while student enrollment over the past several years has increased threefold, the number of volunteer attorneys has risen fourfold.

A new fundraising campaign has raised more than $100,000 in unrestricted funds to help the project.

For the full story, see the law school website.