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Montana Innocence Project names new head, board members

Montana Innocence Project names new head, board members

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Sings In The Timber

Sings In The Timber

Amy Sings in the Timber of Missoula has been named the new executive director of the Montana Innocence Project.

Sings in the Timber has formerly worked for the Montana Justice Foundation, and the Indian Law Clinic at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law.

“Amy’s substantial and successful legal, legislative, and nonprofit management experience made her the unanimous choice of the Montana Innocence Project’s board of directors,” board Chairman Ron Waterman said in a statement. “In the past three alone, the Montana Innocence Project has helped to exonerate six wrongfully convicted people. Amy’s experience, vision, and drive are just what the Montana Innocence Project needs to build on this successful legacy.”

Before joining the Montana Innocence Project, Sings In The Timber served in senior leadership roles with Covenant House Illinois. Covenant House is an international organization that has provided housing and support services to more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people. Before Covenant House Illinois, Sings In The Timber served in senior management positions with The Chicago Bar Foundation.

“Exoneration of the innocent and ensuring the prevention of future wrongful convictions is among the most important work taking place in the U.S. today,” said Sings In The Timber in a statement, “I am honored to lead and work alongside a team dedicated to such a critical mission.”

Sings In The Timber received her law degree from the University of Montana School of Law (now Alexander Blewett III School of Law) and bachelor of arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Sings In The Timber also completed graduate work in anthropology, museum and Native American Studies at the University of Wisconsin. 

Sings In The Timber will begin her position on Monday, succeeding Frank Knaack as the Montana Innocence Project’s executive director. Knaack departs to serve as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina.

The Montana Innocence Project has also appointed the following to its board of directors:

• Jordan Gross is a professor of law at the Blewett School of Law at the University of Montana, where she teaches courses in criminal law and procedure, and professional responsibility. Gross supervises the Law School's Montana Innocence Project Clinic, along with the criminal defense and ACLU Clinics.

• Lars Phillips is an attorney with Tarlow Stonecipher Weamer & Kelly, PLLC in Bozeman. Phillips has been a long-time pro-bono attorney with the Montana Innocence Project and successfully argued Marble v. State before the Montana Supreme Court, a matter involving the interpretation of Montana’s post-conviction statutes. Phillips’ appellate work set the stage for the exoneration of the Montana Innocence Project client Cody Marble. 

• Maylinn Smith is the civil prosecutor for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Smith was a clinical supervisor and a director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic at the University of Montana, Alexander Blewett III School of Law for almost 25 years. 

• Bobbie Zenker is an attorney with Disability Rights Montana where she litigates cases on behalf of individuals with disabilities to insure their rights to employment, education, health care, transportation, housing, and other services. 

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