News 12.23.08

Convictions Overturned in Kentucky and Wisconsin

A Kentucky man will spend Christmas at home for the first time in 14 years after he was released Friday due to DNA evidence suggesting that he was wrongfully convicted. Lacy Bedingfield was convicted in 1996 of a rape he has always said he didn’t commit. In 2005, his attorneys at the Kentucky Innocence Project obtained DNA testing in the case, proving that semen in the rape kit – which had been attributed to Bedingfield at trial – did not match his DNA profile. The Kentucky Supreme Court ordered that his conviction be overturned, and he was freed Friday after accepting an Alford plea to a charge of unlawful imprisonment (a no-contest plea in which the defendant asserts his innocence) in exchange for a sentence of time already served.

Read the Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision here

. (PDF)

Chaunte Dean Ott was granted a new trial in Wisconsin today, based on DNA evidence that another man commited a 1995 murder for which he was serving life in prison. The Wisconsin Innocence Project obtained DNA testing on behalf of Chaunte Dean Ott in 2007, and today a state appeals court ruled that he should get a new trial.

Read the full story here

. (Associated Press, 12/23/08)

Download the Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision here

. (PDF)

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