Defender Aid Clinic Hopes to Send Students to the Innocence Network Conference

Picture of Rosie the Riveter that says donate to the Diane Courselle Memorial CLinic Fund

Each year the College of Law Defender Aid Clinic endeavors to send students from the Clinic to the annual Innocence Network Conference. The Conference is an international event that brings together members of the innocence network and provides a forum for new research and discussion related to wrongful convictions. The Conference offers incredible exposure to students on the leading causes of wrongful convictions, trains them how to investigate and litigate such convictions, and provides time with exonerees from across the world. The experience that students gain from attending is incredibly humanizing and healing. The intent is that students will gain a perspective that will leave a lasting impact on their lives as they embark on a career in public defense or innocence work.

The Clinic has a goal of raising $1,200 in order to send the students to the Conference in March, and is asking for gifts as little as $20 to help crowd source the needed funds. In this season of giving, we hope that you’ll consider supporting the Defender Aid Clinic in its endeavor to broaden the learning experience of the students within the Clinic.

Innocence Work in the Clinic

Under the direction of Professor Lauren McLane, students in the Defender Aid Clinic represent individuals in the state of Wyoming unable to afford counsel at all stages of criminal practice. Significantly, they also collaborate with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC)—the innocence organization that serves Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. RMIC is part of a network of numerous innocence organizations across the world that make up the Innocence Network.[1] Students that will be attending the conference have all been involved in collaborative projects with the RMIC, or are poised in a position do so moving forward.

headshots of Emily Williams, Meri Heneage and Andrew Sickenberger(top) Emily Williams (middle) Meri Heneage (bottom) Andrew Sickenberger

Emily Williams is a third-year law student and the Student Director of the Defender Aid Clinic. Come graduation in May, Emily will have served in the clinic for two full academic years. Emily has argued before the Wyoming Supreme Court as well as local municipal and district courts in the state of Wyoming. Emily has also worked on innocence cases through the clinic’s partnership with RMIC. After graduation, Emily will become a Colorado State Public Defender. Time at the conference will offer Emily an opportunity to further sharpen skills that she can employ in her practice that will help prevent wrongful convictions.

Meridith Heneage is a third-year law student and the College of Law’s Brimmer Scholar. She is currently serving as a student intern in the clinic. Last year, Meri wrote a comment on the need for Wyoming to compensate those who have been wrongfully convicted in the Wyoming Law Review. Meri has exhibited strong commitment to the innocence movement and is looking forward to connecting with exonerees on a personal level and gaining real-life exposure to the innocence world. After graduation, Meri will clerk for the Honorable Kelly Rankin (J.D. ’94) Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming, and then will be entering a career as a Judge Advocate General for the United States Air Force.

Finally, Andrew Sickenberger is a second-year law student who will be the Clinic’s student director next year. Andrew is committed to becoming a public defender and has such tenacity for fighting for justice. As a former football player, the same strength and will that is required on the football field translates well into tough and tolling work such as innocence cases. Gaining early exposure to the importance of innocence work would be an invigorating experience for him, so that he may be a compassionate leader in the clinic and inject a level of enthusiasm for the next set of students.

The Defender Aid Clinic is so thankful for your support! If you are interested in making a year-end, tax deductible gift to the Diane Courselle Memorial Clinic Fund, please follow the directions below:

  1. Visit the University of Wyoming Online Giving Page: HERE

  2. Fill in the amount of your gift in the “write-in Other” Box

  3. Be sure to specify “Diane Courselle Memorial Clinic Fund” in the specify fund box

How to give to fund - write in amount in other box, and specify Diane Courselle Memorial Clinic Fund in the specify fund box.


[1] For more information about the Innocence Network, please visit:


Contact Us

College of Law

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3035

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6416

Fax: 307-766-6417


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