Pro Bono Highlight

Joyful Heart Foundation – ENDTHEBACKLOG

Joyful Heart FoundationThe Joyful Heart Foundation’s mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. ENDTHEBACKLOG, the cornerstone of Joyful Heart’s Policy & Advocacy work, focuses on ending the backlog of untested rape kits in the United States. It is using public records requests to bring to light the number of untested kits at police departments nationwide.

In 2016, Goodwin assisted Joyful Heart in reversing a dismissal of charges against an alleged serial rapist. After a compelling amicus brief written by a Goodwin team, the Supreme Court of Ohio overruled a decision to dismiss rape and kidnapping charges based on pre-indictment delay. The defendant was indicted one day before the expiration of the 20-year statute of limitations, after a rape kit was tested - one of more than 11,000 currently in state’s backlog.

The Goodwin team, led by Emily Rapalino and Alexandra Valenti, worked on behalf of Joyful Heart to halt the dismissal, which had the potential to undermine Ohio’s efforts by allowing charges to be dismissed based on the delay in testing the rape kits