A lot of the people now who defend capital
punishment are admitting that there’s a risk of
executing innocent people, and innocents have
probably been executed. You can tell that from the
high rate of exonerations of people that have been
on death row, convicted of capital crimes, recently
estimated by our colleague, Sam Gross, as being
something like 4.1 percent of capital cases.
The death penalty supporters would say,
“That’s the price of doing business.” Many, and
I’m one of them, feel that it’s an intolerable risk.
Q: If an attorney or law firm is interested
in doing pro bono work for an Innocence
organization, what should they do?
A: Just call us. We have tens of thousands of hours
from the best firms in the country assisting us pro
bono, and it’s absolutely instrumental to all of
the success of the organizations in the Innocence
Network, and the Innocence Project in particular.
This interview was edited and condensed.
Innocence by the numbers
• 4,510: Years served by DNA exonerees
• 1,623: Convictions vacated since 1989,
according to the National Registry of
• 400: The estimated number of people
exonerated by Innocence organizations
around the world
• 330: People exonerated by DNA
evidence since 1989
• 205: Exonerees who are African-American
• 176: DNA exoneration cases assisted by
the Innocence Project, specifically
• 56: Innocence organizations in the U.S.,
with an additional 13 overseas
• 49: Percent of DNA exoneration cases
where the real perpetrator was identified.
In those 162 cases, the real perpetrators
went on to be convicted of 145 additional
crimes—including 77 sexual assaults, 34
murders, and 34 other violent crimes
• 26.5: Average age of exonerees at the
time of their wrongful convictions
• 20: Post-conviction exonerees who
served time on death row
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ZUCKER & BENNETT, PC
Over the past three decades, Gary Zucker has distinguished
himself as one of the most committed and professional
medical malpractice attorneys in New York City.
Zucker & Bennett handles cases in all five boroughs of
New York City, as well as in the surrounding counties.
While the firm focuses on medical malpractice, it also
has a track record of consistent success in wrongful
death and personal injury cases, including those
involving automobile accidents, premises liability,
defective products and construction accidents.
Among its significant recoveries, the firm obtained a
verdict of $10.5 million for a child who suffered severe
brain injury due to prenatal care malpractice. It also
secured a $6 million settlement for the death of a 34-year-
old married plumber, which was the largest reported
settlement in New York in 2014 for injury or death
suffered by a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.
Gar y Zucker
Super Lawyers honoree
In addition to New York Metro Super Lawyers, Vinoo
Varghese is a New York Law Journal Rising Stars honoree
and is on The National Trial Lawyers’ Top 100 list.
In 2006, after six years as a prosecutor, he founded
Varghese & Associates, P.C. The firm represents
individuals and companies in all criminal cases,
including white-collar crimes, state felonies
and misdemeanors, appeals, internal corporate
investigations, and asset-forfeiture.
In May, before the Second Circuit, Varghese won a
rarely granted retrial against the DOJ and IRS for a
client convicted of criminal tax fraud. Other recent
white-collar representations have included Rengan
Rajaratnam, hedge-fund trader, and Dan Halloran,
New York City councilman.
In 2013, the National Association of Criminal Defense
Lawyers heralded Varghese as a courageous attorney
for his stalwart defense of clients, the federal and state
constitutions, and the criminal defense bar at large.
Varghese graduated from Brooklyn Law School, New
York University, and Chaminade High School. He has
taught for the New York City Law Department’s Trial
Advocacy Program, Cardozo’s Intensive Trial Advocacy
Program, and Brooklyn Law’s Business Boot Camp.
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