Lisanne Edelman has wanted to be a lawyer since she was 12 years old. Her growing interest in shows like “Law & Order” signaled that a career in prosecution may be in the cards, but her first criminal law class at John Marshall Law School shifted her focus.
Students were tasked with researching and presenting a particular case from the Innocence Project. To this day, Lisanne can remember the case she chose. In 1999, Clarence Elkins was convicted of the murder of his mother-in-law, Judith, and the assault of his 6-year-old niece. Clarence maintained his innocence, but his niece’s testimony that the intruder looked like her uncle sealed his fate. In 2002, his niece officially recanted her claim, and Clarence was ultimately freed in 2005 based on an alibi witness and a DNA hit off a cigarette butt Clarence collected from a fellow inmate — who was ultimately found guilty of the attacks.
“That triggered something in me,” Lisanne recalls about this case.