Ex-NBA center Joe Barry Carroll supports “Georgia Innocence” project

joe-barry-carrollThe Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) is pleased to announce that a generous donation from former NBA All-Star and long time GIP supporter Joe Barry Carroll has funded a full-time position that will increase the organization’s efforts to exonerate wrongfully imprisoned Georgians. Melissa Arends, the newly hired Administration/Operations Manager, is GIP’s second full-time staff-member.

“Funding this salary is an extension of my past work with the Georgia Innocence Project in making financial contributions and assisting exonerees on the practical issues they face as they attempt to reconstruct their lives. I remain excited about the work that GIP is doing with the use of DNA to provide justice for the wrongly incarcerated. It breaks my heart that innocent men and women continue to be incarcerated for crimes that they did not commit. Much of this tragedy is preventable. Funding this staff position is my effort to help.  I am hopeful that others sensitive to our cause will join in and make a contribution of cash, talent, or other resources,” said Joe Barry Carroll.

Carroll was drafted by the Golden State Warriors back in 1980, and the 7 foot center turned out to be anything but a bust. He averaged 18.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg and 1.5 bpg in his rookie season.

Carroll averaged career high 24.1 ppg and 2.0 bpg for the Warriors during the 1982-1983 season. He continued averaging over 20 ppg up until 1986-1987 season, during which he was chosen for the NBA All-Star team.

He appeared in 705 NBA games, averaging 17.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1.6 bpg in 32.4 minutes on the court.

Prior to Carroll’s offer to fully fund the position, GIP’s only staff consisted of an Executive Director and a part-time Administrative Assistant. The staff collaborates with attorney volunteers and law student interns who help process cases. Since its establishment in 2002, GIP has received more than 5400 requests for assistance and is currently investigating over 200 cases.

Aimee Maxwell, Georgia Innocence Director and Chief Counsel, said: “I am thrilled with Joe’s contribution and what that represents. By totally funding the salary of a full time Office Administrator he has changed the landscape of GIP and potentially the lives of Georgia families. We are currently investigating over 200 cases and this donation is invaluable in helping us provide justice that has been denied.”

Through the efforts of GIP’s small staff and large group of volunteers, five (5) innocent men wrongly incarcerated for nearly 100 years of their lives have been freed and exonerated: Clarence Harrison, exonerated after 18 years in prison; Robert Clark, exonerated after 25 years in prison; Pete Williams, exonerated after more than 21 years in prison; John White, exonerated after 28 years; and Michael Marshall exonerated after 2 years in prison.

DNA testing freed these men from prison and also led police to the true perpetrators of the crimes for which GIP’s clients were wrongly convicted. GIP continues to assist all five men in rebuilding their lives through its Life After Exoneration program.



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