Category Archives: Innocence Project

Convict in 3 sex crimes freed by DNA tied to fugitive rapist

DNA and justiceLOS ANGELES (AP) — A man imprisoned 16 years for rape and sex assault convictions was exonerated Monday and ordered freed after DNA evidence linked the crimes to a serial rapist on the FBI’s most wanted list.

DNA evidence said to prove Kentucky man was wrongly convicted of murder

Justice and DNALOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Nearly three decades after he was jailed for the brutal murder of a Veterans Administration nurse in Newport, recently tested DNA evidence proves William “Ricky” Virgil was wrongly convicted, according to the Kentucky Innocence Project.

High Court overturns guilty plea in controversial rape case

Justice and DNACHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Supreme Court will allow Joseph Anthony Buffey to withdraw his guilty plea to the rape of an elderly woman 14 years ago, citing new DNA evidence showing he was not the attacker.

Tulsa To Pay $8 Million To Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For 16 Years

Justice and DNAOKLAHOMA CITY — The city of Tulsa has agreed to pay $8 million to a man wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 16 years after his lawyers accused police and a crime lab of covering up evidence that exonerated him, authorities said Friday.

New DNA evidence guidelines could alter thousands of cases

TX AnalystDALLAS – Imagine you are on a jury, and are told that the suspect is the source of DNA found at a crime scene.
It’s a one-in-a-billion match.
But then, a different, more “conservative” interpretation takes that number down to just 1-in-100. The defense could call that reasonable doubt.
It’s a question of math that is putting thousands of cases across Texas under the microscope, and could lead to convictions being overturned.

Wrongfully Convicted Brothers Given $750,000 Each After Spending Over 30 Years Behind Bars

After they were wrongfully convicted for the murder of an 11-year-old girl and subsequently forced to spend over 30 years in prison, 51-year-old Henry McCollum and his 47-year-old half-brother Leon Brown have been freed and compensated for the life-changing mistake.

Congress should support access to post-conviction DNA testing

Justice and DNA1I’ll never forget how lonely I felt when the jury announced its guilty verdict and the courtroom erupted in applause. I thought, how could this happen? It felt surreal, but soon after reality sunk in: I could spend the rest of my life in prison until the state of Maryland executed me. I spent eight years, 11 months and 19 days locked away — two of those years on death row — for a rape and murder that I did not commit, before post-conviction DNA testing proved my innocence.

Innocence Project is putting a stop to wrongful convictions across the world

Birmingham SixThe project, started in 1992, has already freed 300 innocent people in the US

FBI Hair Analysis Problems Reveal Limits of Forensic Science

dna_justiceKirk Odom was convicted of a 1981 rape and robbery after a woman identified him as her attacker and an FBI specialist testified that hair on her nightgown was consistent with hair on Odom’s head.
But DNA testing some 30 years later affirmed what Odom long had maintained: The hair wasn’t his; neither was the semen left on a pillowcase and robe. A felony conviction that imprisoned him for decades was overturned in 2012 by a judge who declared it a “grave miscarriage of justice.”

From Death Row to Exoneration Thanks to DNA Testing

Promega Connectons1Imagine being convicted of a crime for which you are not guilty—not some minor crime, but one of the most heinous crimes imaginable: the rape and murder of a young girl. Would you feel shock and anger at the injustice? Disappointment in the legal system that could make such a horrible error? Sadness and depression at the thought of spending time imprisoned for a crime that someone else committed? Probably all of those emotions and more. At your sentencing hearing, the situation gets worse; you are sentenced to death. Now, this horrible crime will prematurely claim the life of two innocents: the young girl and you.

Innocence Project wants evidence better preserved

Justice and DNAJohn Hanlon, executive director and legal director at the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield, remembers going to an Illinois county to look at evidence in a sexual assault case.
He was presented with a bag that contained not only the clothing of the victim but also the clothing of a second suspect in the case. Because of the contamination, he wasn’t able to use DNA evidence in an effort to clear his client, who had been convicted of the crime.
“We would like to address the status of biological evidence after a conviction,” Hanlon told The State Journal-Register editorial board Wednesday. Hanlon appeared before the board along with Larry Golden, founding director of the project.

Connecticut man wrongly jailed for 21 years gets $6M award

DNA and justiceHARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 21 years for the rape and killing of a mother of four was awarded $6 million Thursday from the state of Connecticut.
The state claims commissioner issued the award to 44-year-old Kenneth Ireland under Connecticut’s wrongful incarceration compensation law, saying in a report that “no words or dollar amount will suffice to give him back the time that he lost and the misery that he endured.”

Man Wrongly Convicted 4 Decades Ago Freed From Prison

SledgeJoseph Sledge, 70, addresses members of the media after being released from jail in Columbus County, N.C., on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, after serving nearly four decades behind bars for two slayings he didn’t commit.

DOJ grants Arizona DNA Advocacy Project USD935,000

dna_justiceThe ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Post-conviction Clinic said that it, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic, and the nonprofit Justice Project, Inc. were awarded a USD935,000 grant from the Department of Justice.

Senator vows to expand DNA testing in innocence claims

justice and DNA2Arguing that the state’s highest criminal court watered down a law designed to free innocent people from prison, a state senator vowed Wednesday to introduce, and pass, legislation allowing for expanded DNA testing of crime-scene evidence.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said a February ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals interpreted the 2011 law too narrowly, “making it difficult for folks to secure DNA testing that can prove their innocence and identify actual perpetrators.”