The International Innovators of Justice Forum and Documentary Series was held Nov. 4 in Malibu, Calif., with a plethora of leaders headlining the event.
Among the who’s who of innovators at the event included Jeffrey Deskovic, Amy Povah, Michelle Malkin, Patty Lopez and Bill Bastuk, as well as a slew of high-profile socialites, attorneys, forensic experts and investigators who joined forces to combat what they called the plague of prosecutorial misconduct, false allegations, and seeking real world solutions for wrongful convictions as well as other criminal justice issues, according to a press release.
The panel explored the vital role of factual, objective investigation without compromising due process, the presumption of innocence, or ignoring the harsh reality epidemic of false allegations, it added. Malkin noted the need to not blindly believe anyone simply claiming to be a "victim" irrespective of gender, but to believe the facts, emphasizing the dangers of mob mentality and the responsibility of the media in fact finding.
Without this, innocent "lives can be destroyed" even prior to or without any trial. Her compelling film clips and speech pointed out how every single person present was now "connected" in unison, she said, according to the release.
California political strategist Nelson Picahardo walked Dr. Sanjana Jon to the stage, who praised the panel, led mostly by women, highlighting the pivotal role of "truth" in delivering justice.
Deskovic recounted his own 17-year journey from being wrongfully convicted to eventually being exonerated by connecting the red flags of false allegations that have been established in the wrongful conviction of Anand Jon Alexander, he alleged.
Paying it forward, the Deskovic Foundation has already gotten over a half dozen people home from prison, according to the release.
"Whether we speak of better conditions inside, clemency, rehabilitation, second chance or better education, it all boils down to a change for making this world a better place,” stated Indian American event moderator Mini Guleria.
Alongside Deskovic was the founder of "It could happen to you," Bill Bastuk, raising awareness and activism as part of the international innovators core panel.
Former California Assemblywoman Lopez, who authored Assembly Bill 1909, passed into law signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017, noted how the law enforcement misconduct in the Anand Jon case as "utterly shocking,” the release said.
This was not just echoed by Texas counsel Raijsh Jose, but by other experts and fellow panelists.
Deskovic had taken up this mission after researching similar cases and is scheduled to be on the panel of the international innovators tour going nationwide and even worldwide.
Jose presented not just hard evidence of Alexander's factual innocence, but how that had been withheld by the Beverly Hills police for almost a decade, adding there was a conspiracy to "trick and trap" him, according to the release.
Experts and investigators like C. J Gilbert, Eric Agaki and Steve DiLorenzo added to this statement, describing how proper investigations are the bedrock of a fair trial without which wrongful convictions can happen to anyone.
Jose alleged that the Beverly Hills police themselves caused extraordinary delays and withheld critical favorable evidence.
Los Angeles-based Attorney Tim Milner spoke about alleged racist xenophobia that crippled any chance of a fair trial and urged Gov. Brown to at least comute the 59 years to life sentence Alexander is undergoing.
Community leaders also spoke up at the event, while attendees like attorney Etan Lorant, Shashi Abraham, American Justice Alliance’s Maggi Khalon, along with the panelists, made a unified stand to campaign until no innocent man or woman was left behind.
While minority males are the biggest sufferers of injustice, wrongful convictions can indeed happen to anyone of any race and gender as seen from Povah, who described her own journey as a federal prisoner for almost a decade based on crimes erroneously attributed to her.
After creating an innovative sisterhood of activism and upon being pardoned by President Bill Clinton she went on to create a foundation that specialized in clemency. A local Malibu native, Povah warned against unscrupulous prosecutors who abuse their power and position that only further validated the need for this movement.
Fresh off the victory in getting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the country's first ever commission watchdog group over prosecutors, Bill Bastuk and Jeffrey Deskovic also discussed how to build a coalition and get similar safeguards in place all over the country.
(With press release courtesy of International Innovators of Justice)