Gloria Killian was released from prison on 8/8/02 after serving a total of 17 ½ years on a sentence of 32 years to life for a crime that she did not commit. Originally, she was charged with the death penalty. Throughout her trial and incarceration she always maintained her innocence. In March 2002 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that her conviction was based solely on perjured testimony and overturned her conviction. In 2008, Christopher Cleland, the District Attorney who prosecuted her, was tried by the State Bar of California and found guilty of unethical conduct in her case.
As a former law student, Ms. Killian was assigned to the prison law library where she worked for 15 years, providing legal assistance to other inmates. She worked extensively with battered women, as well as others, and developed specialized legal services for many different areas of the prison. She was instrumental in the founding of the USC Law Project at the California Institution for Women.
During her time in prison, Ms. Killian published several articles including two that were featured in the USC Law Review, entitled Equal Justice for Some, and Justice: One Womanʼs Perspective. The second article was co-authored with Brenda Aris, the first battered woman to be granted clemency in the State of California. Ms. Killian also drafted part pf the media and outreach campaign that assisted in the release of Ms. Aris.
Since her release, Ms. Killian has been tirelessly advocating for the humane treatment and release of the women that she left behind. She has testified for Select Committees of the California Legislature, appeared before the United States Congress, and spoken extensively about the issues and concerns of incarcerated women. She has lectured at various law schools, and also traveled to France to work with various organizations against the Death Penalty
Ms. Killian is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization, the Action Committee for Women in Prison (ACWIP). Along with public education and advocacy work, ACWIP provides Christmas gifts for the inmates at the California Institution for Women and Fire Camps, and the Los Angeles County Jail. Ms. Killian serves on the Advisory Panel for the Center for the Study of Politics and the Women in Criminal Justice Network. She is a member of the California State Gender Responsive Strategies Commission, and the co-chair of the Inmate Family Council at CIW. She is also a founding member of the Women and Innocence Network, a group of exonerated women who organized for justice reform, and attended the Northwestern University Law debut of the first Women’s Innocence Project in November 2012. She has been honored by various groups for her work with incarcerated women, including a special award from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
Ms. Killianʼs experiences with the criminal justice system and the advocacy work that she is doing were featured in various, television shows, interviews, and commentaries She was also profiled in PATHS TO FREEDOM and appears in Hard Time at Tehachapi. In March 2014 her case and current work was the subject of an hour documentary produced by Alex Gibney and Robert Redford as part of the CNN series on the Death Penalty and Innocence “. Ms. Killian’s book, Full Circle, was published in April 2012 by the New Horizon Press receiving USA Best Book Award of 2012 in the true crime category. We are proud that she is a supporter of the Fitted-In Project.