Calvin Duncan will seek to vindicate the post-conviction rights of people incarcerated in Louisiana prisons by increasing their access to court records and quality representation, and by raising awareness around the inequities in the post-conviction process.
Duncan was wrongfully incarcerated at Louisiana’s Angola Penitentiary for nearly 30 years. He served as an “inmate counsel” for 23 of those years, during which time he worked on, in addition to his own case, hundreds of cases on behalf of others. He helped secure a new trial for celebrated prison journalist Wilbert Rideau and initiated the litigation that culminated in the 2012 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Juan Smith v. Burl Cain, which vacated Juan Smith’s death sentence. Since gaining his freedom, Duncan has served, among other roles, as paralegal at the Louisiana Capital Appeals Project and Education Coordinator for the Louisiana Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty’s Speaker’s Bureau.