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Wrongfully Banishing Professor David Protess - by Stephen Lendman
On March 18, Chicago Tribune writers Matthew Walberg and Dan Hinkel headlined, "Northwestern at odds with star professor," saying:
"Cook County prosecutors sparked a media firestorm nearly two years ago when they subpoenaed notes, recordings, and even grades of (his) students (because of their work proving) Anthony McKinney had wrongly been convicted of a 1978 murder."
The battle sparked a feud between Northwestern and Protess, whose Medill Innocence Project uncovered numerous wrongful murder convictions, culminating when former Illinois Gov. George Ryan declared a moratorium on capital punishment in 2000 after 13 prisoners were found innocent and released.
On January 11, 2003, two days before leaving office, he then cleared death row, commuting sentences for 163 men and four women to life imprisonment. He also declared a moratorium on future executions, now banned after Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation last March, saying it's impossible "to create a perfect, mistake-free death penalty system."
Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism's Protess, also Medill Innocence Project Director, was "a superstar (investigative) professor, leading teams of students (to uncover 13) wrongful death penalty convictions....One was just hours from execution."
Medill Dean John Lavine, however, suspended him by email, with no further comment about his future. In fact, he was effectively fired, Lavine privately suggesting he wouldn't be welcomed back.
It was a textbook case of academic lynching, affecting a distinguished professor deserving high honors, not denigration and banishment.