The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, April 15, 2010 - 7A
'Innocence Clinic officials optimistic about case
From Page 1A
ordered a new hearing for Swain,
and eventually the Innocence Clin-
ic was successful in getting Swain's
conviction thrown out and granted
her a new trial.
But Swain's road to freedom
became obstructed later in 2009
when the prosecution was given
permission to appeal the judge's
"That was a surprise," Syed said.
As part of the appeal, each side
From Page 1A
there, but in between that are peo-
ple whose houses are completely
fine," he said. "So, in the midst of all
this rubble, people are living as part
of the destruction."
Conjeevram said despite the
devastation, the Haitian people he
encountered remained hopeful.
"The Haitians live in so much
faith because it is such a big part of
their culture," he said. "People real-
ly smile, go to church every Sunday
and sing songs in the middle of the
Sacha Montas a University
emergency medicine resident,
said though the Haitian people he
encountered were exhausted by
all of the loss they had endured, he
sensed a strong appreciation for his
"People were tremendously
grateful about our presence, which
was extremely rewarding," he said.
For the University members
and other relief workers, making
the trip to Haiti was only half the
battle. Once situated amidst the
rubble, they still needed to figure
out how to make sure those who
* needed aid were able to get it.
was given 30-minutes to present
their argument in front of three
judges yesterday. The judges will
decide in the coming months wheth-
er to uphold the ruling or reinstate
the conviction. No matter that rul-
ing, the case is likely to be appealed
to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Because Swain's original attor-
ney was ruled to be "constitutionally
ineffective," her attorneys from the
Innocence Clinic were able to pro-
vide new evidence to judges to have
her case overturned, Plummer said.
"One of the biggest challenges
initially was figuring out where to
even go or how to help," Montas
However,accordingto many who
visited, infrastructure is improving
as private clinics open their doors
to help the needy and relief teams
from different countries are work-
ing closely together.
Marie Lozon, division director
of pediatric emergency medicine
at the University, recently returned
from a relief trip deployed by the
University aboard the United States
Navy ship "The Comfort."
Lozon said she was lucky to be
part of a crew that was very effi-
"We were so well prepared by
the University Health Services,"
she said. "We had the right shots,
the right medication, the right
paperwork, the right preparation."
Patients were brought aboard
the ship - which housed the only
working CT scanner in Haiti and a
number of intensive care units and
operating rooms - byeither boat or
helicopter, Lozon said.
Lozon stressed that working so
closely with the Navy gave her a
newfound appreciation for itswork.
"I'm not that familiar with the
military; I'm a U of M Ann Arbor
However, Syed said the defini-
tion of new evidence has not been
"Exactly what new evidence
means was a big question for the
court today," Syed said. "Judges
aren't so sure - sometimes they
agree, sometimes they don't."
In court yesterday, prosecutors
stressed that Winterburn's and
Risk's testimonies did not qualify
as "new evidence," and alleged
that Judge Sindt's decision was
incorrect. The prosecution added
hippie," she said. "But the military
workers who devote their lives to
delivering care in a humanitarian
fashion are true American heroes."
Though many who journeyed to
Haiti to assist in the relief efforts
were medically trained, the need
stretches far beyond physicians and
Conjeevaram said he quickly
realized rehabilitation was more
than just a medical process because
victims are in need of food, water
and other forms of care that have
not been readily available to them
since the earthquake.
"I was seeing patients and saying
things like, 'Take this tablet three
times a day with your meals,' " he
said. "And then the next question
they would ask was, 'But where is
my next meal coming from?"'
Lozon said oftentimes helping
her patients didn't involve her med-
"There was a little orphaned
boy that everybody fell in love with
aboard the boat," she said. "He had
a terrible medical problem and he
was developmentally delayed and
very scared. All he wanted to do
was be held and I'd be happy to do
Though earthquake victims are
in dire need of aid, they're not the
that even if the testimonies were
classified as new evidence, they
were negligible pieces of evidence.
Plummer explained that pros-
ecuting attorneys "don't want
second guessing," of previous con-
But with the growing ability to
find new evidence through pro-
cesses like DNA testing, previously
closed cases are being reexamined,
"The prosecution is very con-
cerned that if these types of cases
only ones in the country that need
help. Conjeevaram said since a lot
of focus is heavily concentrated on
disaster related injuries, people
with other problems are often for-
"The main three hospitals in
Port-Au-Prince are inundated with
emergency surgeries," he said. "At
times the day-to-day patients who
just need their blood pressure med-
ication or their diabetes medication
In addition, now that the rainy
season is approaching - which
Conjeevaram said spreads dust and
causes illness - medical care is
becomingeven more necessary.
Hausler said he "sensed a feeling
of dread" from the Haitian people
because of the recent onset of the
"It's already starting to rain
now," he said. "People do not have
their homes and they are becoming
Though the relief workers have
many stories of desperation and
pain, they also have a few of hap-
Conjeevaram told of being
recruited by army officers to aid a
woman dying of starvation because
she had to feed and support her
children and grandchildren.
keep getting through, then it might
open the flood gates and everyone
would get to file new motions,"
Syed and Plummer explained
that while Swain has had a difficult
road so far, she is optimistic about
the outcome of the appeal.
"I think she just has a genuine
feeling that in the end, the right
thing will happen," Plummer said,
adding that Swain has found work
near her home and has a lot of sup-
port from her community.
"I was able to feed her some gra-
nola bars," he said. "And when we
came back, she was a completely
different person; it had helped her
so much. It was so touching to be
able to help someone and the army
officerswere so happy to have made
Lozon said she felt a similar sen-
timent after caring for a mother
and daughter - both of whom had
their legs shattered during the
"I was able to make sure that
they got their operations and see
them go back to the island as an
intact family with their legs fixed,"
she said. "That was very gratify-
Hausler said he was deeply
affected after carrying a three-
year-old Haitian girl with a
105-degree fever and possible case
of typhoid on a stretcher to a nearby
"I just wanted to get there as fast
as possible, but I was watching out
for every rock," he said. "I want-
ed to have a heightened sense of
awareness of every single bump so
I wouldn't shake this little girl who
was sitting there practically dying."
Coming back to the U.S., Hausler
said it was difficult to explain his
experience to his peers who had
"She seems to be doing well,"
Though Innocence Clinic mem-
bers say they are confident in their
arguments and Swain's innocence,
they admitted they are not com-
pletely sure they will be able to win
"The judges were interested
in the right questions, which is
good," Syed said. "But we really can't
know what they're thinking or where
they're going to go with it, so we're
hoping for the best."
only witnessed the disaster in the
"All of a sudden, coming back
and stepping out of the destruction
you see how detached people are
from it and it can be hard to relate,"
Montas also stressed that stu-
dents should recognize how lucky
they are to live in a place where a
similar disaster would not be as
"We have to remember, (in Haiti)
there's no disability insurance
and there's no Medicaid," he said.
"There's nothing like anything in
America where if something hap-
pened to you that you didn't plan
for, it would be taken care of by the
government or by the infrastruc-
All of the workers emphasized
that even if students do not have
medical training, there are many.
things they can do to take part in,
the effort - like helping to rebuild
devastated buildings, aiding in
water reclamation or fetching tools
"There is a constant need," said
Conjeevaram. "And the truth is ;
when you actually do these things,
you grow as a person, and at the end
of the day it helps you more than r
the person you're helping."
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