|Rob Warden (Photo: Jennifer Linzer)|
Rob Warden is a courtroom crusader, an award-winning legal affairs reporter, a civil rights warrior, a voice for the voiceless, and a "freedom hero" in the most literal sense of the term. Thanks to his tireless dedication and selfless quest for truth, he has restored hope to those trapped within a criminal justice system often riddled with corruption, inaccurateness, faulty investigations, and outright injustice.
In the 1970s Warden was an editor and investigative journalist at the Chicago Daily News. By 1978 his passionate pursuit of justice compelled him to found Chicago Lawyer, and while serving as both its editor and publisher for 11 years, he exposed a series of wrongful convictions, and in several cases, even death penalties.
Now serving as the executive director for the Center of Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University's School of Law, Warden continues his mission to both help those faced with unfair convictions and to help expose the problems challenging our legal system.
He feels that DNA forensic technology has revolutionized criminal justice, both because it has assisted in solving cases that would have otherwise remained mysteries, and because it has proven the innocence of many prisoners who otherwise would have had no other way to truly "prove" themselves as such. It has also prevented unlawful convictions long before they are even brought to trial.
Most importantly, Warden feels that DNA testing has brought public attention to problems within the justice system, and hence changed public opinion on criminal convictions, and on what was previously considered an overwhelmingly fair judicial system.
Warden is also an outspoken opponent of the death penalty: "We [he and colleague David Protess] became opposed to the death penalty through an objective, intellectual process that led us to conclude that you can't trust this system to kill people," says Warden. (http://www.truthinjustice.org/ crusaders.htm) Expectedly, he also receives criticism for his stance, and for his role as an advocate to those others feel have been rightfully accused and sentenced. Yet these critics, some of whom state he comes with an unfair or biased agenda, seem to instead further fuel Warden's passion for truth and justice, and oftentimes, later become fans and even proponents of his work.
Warden has also used his talents to author and co-author several books on the subject of criminal injustice and wrongful convictions. Penning books such as:
A Promise of Justice : The Eighteen-Year Fight to Save Four Innocent Men , Done in a Day: 100 Years of Great Writing from the Chicago Daily News , and most recently reviving Scott Turow's Wilkie Collins's The Dead Alive: The Novel, the Case, and Wrongful Convictions and serving as its modern-day editor, Warden has taken his passion for journalism and criminal justice system reform and brought it to a broad public eye. Through the reissuing of this 1874 British mystery novel written by Charles Dickens' friend, Warden's latest literary endeavor reconsiders the facts of the Boorne case of 1819, the first clearly recorded judicial injustice in America, in which two men were falsely accused and sentenced for a crime they clearly did not commit (the person they allegedly killed later turned up very much alive in New Jersey).
Warden's dedication to his decades' long mission, has helped scores of individuals faced with trials, convictions, and in some cases, death sentences, for crimes they did not commit. In doing so, he has bestowed a voice to the poor and underprivileged, who sadly, seem to be the most common unsuspecting victims of such accusations. Poorly educated, if at all, disadvantaged, and without the finances or ability to properly defend themselves, thousands end up victims of wrongful convictions, in some cases serving lifetime imprisonment, or worse.
Thanks to Warden, many of these individuals have been saved from a judicial system that neither served nor protected them, and clearly did not offer them justice. This tireless advocate for the wrongly accused has personified the phrase "freedom hero" for thousands, and continues to inspire individuals around the world through his endless quest for truth, justice, and judicial responsibility.
Page created on 4/23/2013 4:22:15 PM
Last edited 4/23/2013 4:22:15 PM