After spending 30 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit, Ronnie Rhodes will face a parole hearing for the eighth time.
This time, however, he'll have representation. Rebecca Woodman, an attorney and professor at Washburn University School of Law, will appear on Rhodes' behalf, along with one of her students.
To this point, Woodman and her students have merely been studying Rhodes' case as part of a wrongful convictions class. But this week, Woodman entered her appearance to represent Rhodes through the Washburn Law Clinic, which gives law students real-world experience under faculty supervision.
Law student Alan Lindeke is working with Woodman on a report of the class' findings, which they will submit to the new Prison Review Board.
"The students in the wrongful convictions class conducted the investigation into Ronnie's case," Woodman said. "So it was quite natural for the Washburn Law Clinic to represent Ronnie when it became necessary to do so in light of his pending parole hearing."
The Eagle has been following the case for the past year.
The hearing is set for July 6 at the Lansing Correctional Facility.
"I am looking forward to this time because I believe that I will be paroled," Rhodes said in an e-mail from prison.
A decision is expected in August.