Montana Innocence Project 2013 Volunteer Awards

Posted by  on November 27, 2013

At the Montana Innocence Project (MTIP), we couldn't achieve our mission without an amazing network of statewide volunteers.  We have a group of dedicated attorneys, investigators, students and others who help us with everything from casework to fundraising.  In honor of this amazing show of volunteer support, we honored four key people in October for their outstanding dedication and service:


Outstanding Firm

MTIP awarded our first ever Outstanding Firm Award to Tipp and Buley, P.C.  Brian Tipp and Rich Buley, have offered their support for our mission and projects since MTIP was founded in 2008.  Not only have they provided financial sponsorship for events, but they have also provided invaluable pro bonoassistance that has furthered key case litigation. Specifically, Rich Buley is serving as a pro bono expert in a complex shaken-baby-syndrome case and their associate attorney, Brett Schandelson, is assisting with an upcoming hearing to free Richard Raugust.  This help is critical to MTIP's success.

Champion of Innocence

The Champion of Justice award is given to an attorney who best advances MTIP’s mission through pro bonolegal service. The recipient this year was Wendy Holton. Wendy has spent her career helping indigent people who need and deserve legal help. She has brought MTIP invaluable expertise to federal litigation as we request DNA testing on behalf of a Native American in prison for rape when the rape kit has not been properly DNA tested. This case will make precedent in the Ninth Circuit and we sincerely appreciate her time and involvement.

Freedom Fighter

MTIP is proud to be training Montana’s next generation of attorneys, journalists and other community leaders. We award the Freedom Fighter award to the student volunteer who exhibits tremendous dedication to MTIP’s work. Students in our clinical program pore through legal files, help us organize and summarize complicated documents, research legal issues and track down witnesses. This year, we honored two students for their longstanding efforts and devotion to MTIP:  Sarah Lockwood and Natalie Wicklund.