It has been an exciting and action-packed summer for the Georgia Innocence Project. As we continue to work hard on our active cases, and strive every day to find new cases to take on and new inmates to bring to freedom, we have also been working on something that is very new to us.
Since last November, we have been collaborating with the team behind the Undisclosed podcast, and investigating the case that forms the basis of their hotly anticipated second season. After exploring the trial and conviction of Adnan Syed in its first season, Undisclosed has turned its focus to one of GIP’s cases: that of Joey Watkins, who was just a few days shy of his twenty-first birthday when he was convicted of the murder of Isaac Dawkins, and sentenced to life in prison.
I have been working on Joey’s case for over a year now, and I find it just as compelling, as thought-provoking, and as disturbing as I did last summer. The entire story involves missing evidence, jailhouse snitches, dead dogs, teenage love triangles, and two heartbroken families, each coping with the loss of a beloved son. For me, however, and for the rest of the team at GIP this is a story about Joey Watkins: a typical teenage boy who, due to a perfect storm of events, found himself imprisoned for life with virtually no legal options left, short of discovering who actually committed the murder of which he had been convicted.
As the first episodes of Undisclosed premiere, I am excited to see what you make of Joey Watkins’ story. We want this story to fascinate you, to trouble you, and to move you, but what we want more than anything is justice for Joey. This podcast is the next step on our path to securing Joey’s freedom, and we welcome you to join us on the journey.
Finally, it has also been a summer of birthdays here at the Georgia Innocence Project. Our hard-working interns do everything from filing to intake strategy to tracking down evidence, but we can also rely on them to keep our kitchen well-stocked with leftover cake. Sharing their special days with them as we collaborate on the crucial work that helps us secure justice for our clients, we started thinking about how hard it can be to buy gifts for our loved ones.
If you want to show someone how much you appreciate their commitment to creating a better world, don’t buy them another gift certificate. Give the gift of freedom in their honor, and donate to the Georgia Innocence Project by organizing a BIRTHDAYS BEYOND BARS Circle of Giving. Recruit friends and family to donate, dedicate your donation on the Donate page of our website, and have one person send us a flattering picture of the birthday recipient. We’ll acknowledge the Birthday Guy or Gal on our social media, and send them a special note of thanks with a list of the members in their Circle of Giving whose donations helped us in our quest for justice.
Even the smallest of gifts will mean the world to your loved one—and will mean a world of difference to us, and to the imprisoned innocent who we are working to set free.