MORGANTOWN – Bill Frame and Wesley Metheney of Wilson, Frame & Metheney PLLC in Morgantown said their firm’s $100,000 gift to West Virginia University College of Law’s West Virginia Innocence Project was made in an effort “to contribute to the WV College of Law in a manner that would provide direct and immediate educational support to law students and at the same time be part of a greater good to West Virginia.”
Frame and Metheney said the West Virginia Innocence Project satisfied both objectives.
“The WV Innocence Project is comprised of law students who, while working under the supervision of the project director, are directly involved in a continuing effort to legally address the staggering number of innocent persons who remain wrongfully convicted or imprisoned,” Frame and Metheney told The West Virginia Record.
Frame and Metheney said the project is important because “nothing should be more disturbing to the citizens of West Virginia than knowing an innocent individual has been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned - their freedom stolen from them causing a grave injustice to them, their families and the state of West Virginia.”
Valena Beety WVU
“With the conviction of knowing that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere - Martin Luther King (Jr.),’ a hands-on legal educational program for WVU law students engaged in fighting against injustice certainly benefits all West Virginians,” Frame and Metheney said.
Valena Beety, WVU professor of law and director of the West Virginia Innocence Project, said the gift shows concrete support from the community for individuals who have been put in prison for crimes they did not commit.
“These wrongfully convicted people are not forgotten in West Virginia,” Beety told The West Virginia Record. “Wilson, Frame and Metheney are standing up for the rights of innocent people in prison, people who are hoping for another day in court to prove their innocence.”
Beety said the only full-time staff currently at the project are her and a recent law school graduate, who is the Franklin D. Cleckley Fellow. She said the gift will keep the Cleckley fellowship going and double the project’s impact in the state.
“(The gift) allows us to staff the West Virginia Innocence Project with a lawyer,” Beety said.
According to Beety, the project is supported by the WVU College of Law, which provides space for the clinic and the salary for the director. In addition, the project fundraises for staff attorneys, detectives, DNA testing and court costs through online fundraising, Wrongful Convictions Day and a Spring Gala, scheduled for April 5, in conjunction with the WVU Center for Black Culture and Research.