Korey Wise, the 2019 recipient of Colorado Law's Richard Schaden Adopted Alumnus Award, was one of five black and Latino teenagers to be wrongfully arrested, tried, and convicted of charges stemming from the brutal attack and rape of a female jogger in New York City’s Central Park in 1989.
The oldest defendant at 16, Wise was tried as an adult and spent a total of 13 years and four months incarcerated.
In 2002, the true rapist confessed to the crime, which DNA testing confirmed, and the five defendants were exonerated. In late 2014, a federal judge approved a $41 million settlement in which each defendant received roughly $1 million for every year he was wrongly imprisoned.
In 2015, Wise pledged $190,000 to the Colorado Innocence Project, housed at the University of Colorado Law School, which has since been renamed in his honor. Wise’s gift funded the hiring of a full-time program director and provided financial support for the program’s investigative work.