Jane Raley: Tenacious Advocate for the Wrongfully Convicted

All who have followed the accomplished work of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Law are saddened by the loss of the Center’s Co-Director, Jane Raley, 57. Surrounded by her loving family, Raley died peacefully at her home on Christmas Day after battling cancer.

Raley had been a member of the legal staff of the Center on Wrongful Convictions since 2000. An exceptional lawyer and teacher, Raley was instrumental in the cases of eleven inmates who were eventually released, according to an obituary in the Chicago Tribune (here).

Raley became co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions with Karen Daniel in September of this year. Daniel called Raley “…truly the heart of the CWC…one of our greatest and most compassionate warriors….an incredible lawyer, a tenacious advocate for her clients, a revered mentor of law students and young lawyers, and an incredibly loving and caring person.”

The Tribune article quotes Daniel, speaking about Raley’s uphill battles on behalf of those often forgotten: “Even if the odds were long, she never gave up. She worked for years and years and she won cases that I don’t think anyone else would have won.”

Among them was the case of Juan Rivera, who was released from prison after serving nearly 20 years for a 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Waukegan, Illinois. Raley worked on the Rivera case for more than a decade before the Illinois Appellate Court reversed his conviction.

Colleague Joshua Tepfer of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, wrote (here) that Raley was an incredible mentor, who will always epitomize for him “client-centered lawyering.”

A memorial service for Jane Raley will be held at 2 p.m. on January 3, 2015, at the North Shore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, in Deerfield, Illinois.

Donations in memory of Jane Raley may be made payable to Northwestern University School of Law (note “Jane Raley Memorial Fund” in the subject line), Office of Alumni Relations and Development, Northwestern University School of Law, 375 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Or, to make a memorial gift online, visit http://giving.northwestern.edu/nu/cwc.





4 responses to “Jane Raley: Tenacious Advocate for the Wrongfully Convicted

  1. My grandson was convicted of 1st degree rape and lude. molestion He has never denied having sex with this girl. The judge said he had to be found guilty, if that being the case and testimony of most of the witnesses testimony was impeached, even the accuser. What was there to deliberate on? The jury did not want to convict, gave him 5 yrs on the first offense and 0 years on the second. I don’t understand how he can be found guilty with no evidence. This is crazy. He is in his 3rd prison and the last one, he was beaten badly by UAB, they did not even take him to a doctor, broken nose, spitting up blood and they did nothing. Please help me get my grandson home. He was only 17 when this all started and is now 21, he is a little different than most people and makes it hard for him. These prisons want the inmates there; because they are used as slaves, every one of them. Cheap labor and lock up. That is slavery. Once again, please help us.

  2. this is a beautiful and fitting tribute to a woman who worked so tirelessly to pursue justice, right some terrible wrongs, and free more than one of my favorite fellow Exonerees. the world is a little sadder and darker because the light that she was has dimmed, and she is so sorely missed and mourned by those who were privileged to have known and loved her. I only wish I had been among them. thank you for letting those of us who did not get to meet her personally know her, at least a little.

  3. Diana van Deusen

    I knew Jane in high school and am simultaneously blown away and not surprised that she went on to do such great acts of heroism. My heart-felt condolences to her family, as it was a great loss.

  4. I am sorry to hear of her death. I certainly didn’t know her personally but as one that is saddened and horrified with all the many people that are incarcerated and innocent of any crime, I know how passionate those of us feel about trying to help free the innocent. We have an epidemic in this country of wrongful convictions. I believe it is largely due to prosecutors abusing their power and not facing any consequence as a result. We need tougher laws to hold prosecutors accountable. They are elected officials. They are abusing their power in my opinion for nothing else but to try to make themselves look better or advance in their career. Kevin Crane, a prosecutor for Ryan Ferguson is now a Judge. He knew or should have known Ryan Ferguson was innocent. He wanted to advance his career and didn’t mind ruining lives to do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s