Highlights from the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project’s 14th Annual Awards Luncheon

MAIP’s 2023 luncheon theme was “Share Your Story”


The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project’s 14th Annual Awards Luncheon, held on June 28, 2023, was an amazing success! This year, our luncheon theme was “Share Your Story.” We heard moving stories from our clients, recognized the storytellers and their important work amplifying the voices of the wrongfully convicted, and celebrated our amazing supporters, without whom none of our work would be possible.

To kick off the program, MAIP client and board member David Boyce opened with a powerful story about how he never gave up the fight to overturn his wrongful conviction, despite 23 long years of wrongful imprisonment. After eight and a half years of legal battles, $2 million dollars in fees, and twenty lawyers, David was finally exonerated. “I’m bruised, but not broken,” he told the audience. “I have a passion to facilitate change, and that is why I am a board member for MAIP.”



One of the most moving parts of the program was when we welcomed all of our clients in attendance to the stage. Each person stated his name and the number of years he had spent wrongfully incarcerated. Altogether, our freed clients have served more than 889 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.


Recognizing our clients on stage


Despite the traumatic ordeals that they endured, each of our clients possesses remarkable strength and resilience. MAIP client Ransom Watkins, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 36 years, recounted in his story how he found the strength to carry on: “My mama told me to never change for other people. I never believed what the police and prosecutors told me—I was innocent, and I knew I would be going home.”



Storytellers ensure that the stories of David, Ransom, and other wrongfully convicted people are brought to light. We were thrilled to honor Jason Flom, Jeff Kempler, and Lava for Good with the Champion of Justice award. Through Lava for Good’s lineup of podcasts, Jason and Jeff have amplified the stories of hundreds of wrongfully convicted men and women. MAIP clients Clarence Jones, Thomas Haynesworth, and Keith Harward have all shared their stories on Jason’s Wrongful Conviction podcast.

Jason gave us a wonderful surprise when he made an incredibly generous offer to match up to $50,000 of funds raised at the event. We raised an impressive amount (over $28,000!) during the event, and if you’d like to help meet Jason’s challenge match, please click here to contribute. Thank you so much for your support!



We were also proud to honor Patrice Gaines with the Defender of Innocence Award. Patrice’s brave early writing about the 8th & H case for The Washington Post garnered national attention for this miscarriage of justice and ultimately led to MAIP’s involvement. Patrice’s award was presented by the men who had been wrongfully convicted in the case, including MAIP client and board member Chris Turner. “Patrice cared for us, she saw us as people, and she understood what we had gone through,” Chris said in his introduction of Patrice.



Finally, our new board chair, Rebecca Brodey, concluded the program by recognizing our outgoing board members, Julia Dahlberg and Andrew George. Julia has served as MAIP’s board chair since 2020, and Andrew has served on the board since 2017. Without Julia’s and Andrew’s unwavering commitment to MAIP and their critical input on MAIP’s development, we would never have grown into the organization that we are today.


MAIP’s new board chair, Rebecca Brodey


We are grateful to everyone who joined us, and we would like to give a huge thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, and board members who made the event such a success!

See more photos from the luncheon here.