Bipeds of Brookland: Frances Kim Walters
Frances Kim Walters started her professional life as a teacher but says “I realized I liked playing with 3rd graders more than I liked teaching them.” So she went to Michigan Law School, where she met her husband, and after graduating they came to DC to work for law firms. Frances found she was more interested in working with wrongly convicted prisoners, and now works for a nonprofit organization, which relies completely on donations. “I’ve been with Mid Atlantic Innocence Project for 3 years now and I absolutely love it and I can’t see doing any other kind of work.”
Her office gets over 500 letters a year from prisoners who say they are innocent and have no money to appeal their conviction. “For the very, very small percentage of cases that we find a new witness or find some evidence where we think the person is innocent and we might be able to prove it, we find some way to get it into court.” In one of their cases, a client had spent 29 years in prison despite doubts expressed by the prosecutor that he might not be guilty. He was eventually pardoned because of their work, and another inmate later admitted to committing the crime.
When not at her office, Frances stays busy being the mother of “three wonderful children.” After her first child was born, she joined a new moms group from the Brookland listserv. She is also involved with a neighborhood “huddle for the future” that meets once a month to “take that energy from the Women’s March to keep moving forward and figuring out concrete steps that we … can take to continue progressing.”
“I’m so glad we discovered this neighborhood. I love walking down the street and just being able to say hi and recognizing people. It doesn’t feel like you’re in a city. I love that the people in this neighborhood really care about what happens here. Everyone does seem to have a ‘love thy neighbor’ feel, they’re not trying to keep people out. ”
Bipeds of Brookland: A weekly series introducing the people who make Brookland their home,one step at a time.
Article and photo by Tom Sabella