University of Richmond faculty members’ work doesn’t end when classes do. They conduct research and pursue their own projects to further their fields, often with the help of students.

Law professor Mary Kelly Tate, well-known for her work with identifying and exonerating the wrongfully convicted, is just one such example of our driven faculty. In fact, she is so well-known she is now garnering national attention for a recent letter she wrote to Virginia’s governor about a decades-old case.

Tate, founding director of the Richmond School of Law’s Institute for Actual Innocence, asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to pardon Jens Soering, a German diplomat’s son convicted of a brutal double murder in the 80s. Soering, then a student at UVA, is serving two life sentences for the slayings of his girlfriend’s parents at their home in central Virginia.

Tate says Soering would not be convicted today based on a new DNA analysis. As a result of her letter, The Washington Post is calling Tate a “powerful advocate” and a “notable ally” for Soering.

“I don’t do this casually, in terms of choosing to write a letter,” Tate told The Washington Post. “I do that sparingly. And I feel confident in my decision to do so.”

Tate and the students she works with in the law clinic have not taken over the case, but she hopes her letter will add credibility to Soering’s longtime claims of innocence.

We’re proud of the important work Tate leads at Richmond Law, and our students are fortunate to have an advocate like her to work with and learn from. 

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