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ARC, Inc. seeks to transform the U.S. criminal justice system by providing comprehensive and accurate life history investigation to decision-makers in order to inform the fates of individuals facing the most severe penalties.
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Liz Vartkessian
in the Baltimore Sun

Executive Director Liz Vartkessian has an oped in today's Baltimore Sun. Inspired by the podcast In the Dark, it reads in part:
 
Listening to the true crime podcast, In the Dark has been a frustrating experience. Season two, which has been downloaded more than 12 million times, focuses on the case of Curtis Flowers, an inmate on Mississippi’s death row who has maintained his innocence for the last 22 years. What frustrates me is not the podcast itself, which is meticulously reported. It is not even the series of revelations of the ways in which Mr. Flowers’ case was mishandled. What frustrates me is that the attention Mr. Flowers’ experience has received is an aberration. In fact, the most unusual thing about his case is that it has actually received the type of investigation that is theoretically guaranteed to every person facing capital charges.

Mr. Flowers, who is African American, was convicted for the murders of four white furniture store employees in Winona, Mississippi. Since then, he has been engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the elected District Attorney, Doug Evans, who is also white. Over the course of the season, In the Dark producer Madeline Baran and her team demonstrate that his conviction was built on shaky evidence, unreliable testimony, and bad faith.

Mr. Flowers’ case is heartbreaking for all involved, but some version of each error made and each pernicious step taken by an overzealous and misguided prosecution can be found in nearly every case I have worked on as a mitigation investigator and doubtless in scores of others. 


It is our hope that the attention being brought to the cases of Mr. Flowers and others will help more people understand the level of investigation all defendants deserve. For the full text, click here.
Welcome to our new team members!
 
We are excited to welcome three new team members this month:

Katherine Atkins, who joins us as a Life History Investigator, became involved with mitigation work during an internship at the University of Texas School of Law's Capital Punishment Clinic. She received her Master of Science in Social Work degree (MSSW) from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Abby Crick, also Life History Investigator, was most recently a Junior Capital Attorney Fellow at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, working on pre-trial, direct-appeal and post-conviction capital cases. Abby received her juris doctor from the George Washington University School of Law and her Master of Law from Georgetown Law.

Kara Stoner, who joins us as our new Office Manager, brings more than a decade of experience in billing and accounts management. She received her Associates degree at Howard Community College, and will be graduating this year from University of Maryland University College with a B.S in Health Services Management.

We are excited to welcome these three talented women to the ARC, Inc. team. For more information on Katherine, Abby, Kara, and the whole ARC, Inc. team, visit our website.

 


Thank you,
Amicus interns! 

 
This year, we have again been lucky to be joined by incredible volunteers from Amicus, a UK-based charity that provides support to capital defense teams in the United States. Our sincere thanks to Joseph Panasiuk, Stacey Lamb, Jaspreet Dhaliwal, and Sarah Cave. Their efforts have been a significant help to our clients including obtaining case records, conducting research, and processing hundreds of critical documents. Whatever the projects, each volunteer made a real difference in our work.
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