UCI Law Students Fought for Eight Years to Finally Free Pro Bono Clients Dupree Glass and Juan Rayford


UCI Law Students, as part of the Innocence OC Pro Bono Project with Annee Della Donna, worked for years to successfully overturn the wrongful murder convictions for Juan Rayford and Dupree Glass

Photo by Christina Carter

IRVINE, Calif. (April 20, 2023) — After nearly 17 years of wrongful imprisonment, Juan Rayford and Dupree Glass have been exonerated of all charges related to a 2004 shooting in Lancaster. Today, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge vacated the final count against them, affirming their innocence and ending a long and painful chapter in their lives. We are immensely proud of our pro bono law students, who have worked tirelessly on this case for years, under the guidance of Annee Della Donna with the Innocence OC Pro Bono project.

Two second-year UCI Law students who worked on the case, Christina Carter and Mark Green, were both in court today for the ruling and reflected on their work to help Juan Rayford and Dupree Glass:

Christina Carter:
“It has been an honor to be one in the long line of students that has worked with Annee Della Donna, Eric Dubin and Innocence OC on Juan and Dupree's case. They are brilliant, outstanding men, and it was beautiful to see them standing outside court today, holding their daughters, surrounded by family and loved ones finally free of all charges. They were convicted by an all-white jury, presided over by a white judge, and sentenced to over two hundred years in prison after just a two-day trial. It was an incredible miscarriage of justice, and it is tragic that it took almost twenty years to begin to correct it. It never would have been possible without Annee's dedicated and tireless work on this case for over ten years. Today the ruling came down to the single most important piece of evidence proving their innocence — the confession from one of the actual shooters. I was present in court during the shooter's examination, and I will never forget what happened when he stepped down from the witness box. Juan stood up and asked if he could speak. Judge Jacke told him to speak through his attorney, but Juan couldn't help but beg the shooter, an incredibly close childhood friend, to tell him why he decided to shoot that day. Dupree sat beside him at the counsel table, with tears silently streaming down his face. Waiting for the ruling today our hearts were racing, but as soon as Judge Jacke began to recount that moment, I knew he saw what we all did that day in court. That Juan and Dupree were innocent, and that they had been denied justice for far too long.”

Mark Green:
“It’s moments like these that make me grateful to have chosen a public interest focused law school like UCI. After two years helping to get this case over the finish line, it was remarkable to see the hard work of Juan, Dupree, Annee, Eric, and dozens of past law students finally pay off. Watching the family and friends’ nervous anticipation turn into overwhelming joy at the judge’s ruling was a rare privilege that will forever stay with me.”

Photo by Christina Carter

Annee Della Donna:
“I am so grateful for the hard work and dedication from the nearly 50 UCI Law students who have assisted on this case over the years. They drafted appellate briefs, Supreme Court briefs and multiple writs of habeas corpus. This was a life-changing case for our clients and without our help, they would have spent the rest of their lives behind bars. Thank you UCI for supporting this case and our quest for justice for so many other clients over the past eight years.”

Here is the transcript of the court proceedings in the Los Angeles Superior Court from April 20, 2023. You can read more about Juan and Dupree's case in our previous article from 2020.

The Washington Post, KTLA, in addition to many other news publications, wrote about the decision.

About the University of California, Irvine School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is a visionary law school that provides an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, prioritizes public service, and demonstrates a commitment to equity within the legal profession. UCI Law students have completed more than 135,000 hours of pro bono work since 2009. Forty-eight percent of UCI Law’s J.D. graduates are people of color. At UCI Law, we are driven to improve our local, national, and global communities by grappling with important issues as scholars, as practitioners, and as teachers who are preparing the next generation of leaders. The collaborative and interdisciplinary community at UCI Law includes extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, dedicated staff, engaged alumni, and enthusiastic supporters. More information on UCI Law is available here. Connect with us on Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and sign up for our monthly newsletter for the latest news and events at UCI Law.