Category Archives: Innocence Project

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.”

Assembly bill aims to facilitate the use of DNA to exonerate the wrongfully convicted

MainorA bill sponsored by assemblymen Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) and Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) aimed at making it easier for the wrongfully convicted to be exonerated using DNA evidence has been approved by an assembly panel.
Mainor noted the recent case of North Carolina half-brothers released after serving 13 years in prison for a crime they did not commit.

Working to exonerate innocent people in American prisons

Prisons of the WorldAMERICA HAS MORE prisoners than anywhere else in the world.
Currently there are 2.2 million prisoners in America. That is 1.6 million more than in Russia, 2.1 million more than the UK and 600,000 more than China.

Man exonerated by DNA – and he didn’t even request it

Justice and DNAMichael Phillips had long ago given up trying to clear his name. At 57, he was a registered sex offender, living in a nursing home, wheelchair-bound from severe sickle cell anemia.
Then in May, two police officers delivered news that Phillips says only God could have ordained: Dallas County, Texas, prosecutors had proved through DNA testing that he had spent 12 years in prison for a rape he hadn’t committed.

DNA Evidence Exonerates D.C. Man Convicted Of Murder, Rape After FBI Error 30 Years Ago

justicescalesA D.C. man convicted of raping and murdering a woman in 1982 has been exonerated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office due to new DNA testing that proved his innocence.

Mississippi man gets charges in 1982 Oklahoma rape

DNA and justiceNORMAN — The Cleveland County district attorney’s office has charged a suspect in a 32-year-old case of rape for which another man was wrongfully convicted and spent more than 13 years in prison.

Open Society Announces $5 Million Challenge Grant to Innocence Project

fenceThe Open Society Foundations has announced a $5 million challenge grant to bolster a campaign to establish a $20 million reserve fund for the Innocence Project.
Based in New York City, the criminal justice advocacy organization is dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reform of the criminal justice system. Since 1992, a total of three hundred and seventeen people, including eighteen who served time on death row, have been exonerated by DNA evidence; the Innocence Project was involved in a hundred and seventy-three of those cases.

Wrongly imprisoned man: Fix New Jersey’s DNA testing law (Opinion)

DNA Helix 2Imagine spending 19 years in prison for a murder you did not commit. Imagine enduring the indignities of life behind bars, and missing out on the lives of your children and grandchildren, knowing that you are innocent. Imagine that while you sit in a cell, the real killer is somewhere out there, possibly destroying other lives.

Texas Sees Rise in Overturned Sexual Abuse Convictions from DNA Testing

DNA_TestingHouston, TX — (SBWIRE) — 05/22/2014 — Being accused of a crime you haven’t committed can be devastating. Unfortunately, several wrongly convicted individuals are just now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after years behind bars. Falsified claims are a serious threat and this issue is quickly becoming recognized by mainstream media. In particular, false allegations involving child sexual abuse or child abuse can wreak havoc to family relations and cause lingering stress. Recently thousands of untested DNA rape and sexual abuse kits were sent to a third party crime lab for testing after decades collecting dust in Harris County evidence rooms. Fortunately, a few cases have already been turned over after DNA evidence proved their innocence.

How DNA Forever Changed Forensic Science

pipetteThroughout the 1970s and 1980s, the FBI relied heavily on hair detectives. Before developing DNA analysis, hair analysis played a key role in identifying and convicting crime suspects, and that’s the subject of this week’s Retro Report.
Once DNA tests proved that two seemingly identical pieces of hair could come from different people, the FBI had to re-examine its past. And now exonerations are forcing the criminal justice system to confront the limitations of hair analysis from days past.

Boxer on death row for 48 years proven innocent after a DNA test

Justice and DNA1A former professional boxer who was on death row for 48 years has been freed after DNA tests undermined a key piece of evidence against him.
Iwao Hakamada was released after the tests proved blood-stained clothing used in his prosecution did not belong to him. The 78-year-old has a Guinness world record as the longest-serving death row inmate of all time.