News 06.05.09

Friday Roundup: Compensation and Crime Lab Woes


William Dillon of Florida was denied compensation from the state

on Tuesday as a result of a "clean hands" law, which prevents exonerees with unrelated prior convictions from receiving compensation. The Innocence Project of Florida is pursuing measures to exempt Dillon from the statute, which would allow Dillon to receive $1.3 million in compensation for his wrongful conviction, but requires finding a sponsor in the state legislature, filing the claims bill and having it pass.

Two states are facing budget cuts that may put their crime labs at risk. In Wisconsin,

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to convince the state Justice Department to restore funds that were cut by the state legislature

. Hollen says the budget cuts would force him to lay off staff and would result in increased backlogs.


The North Carolina legislature is considering closing the Greensboro crime lab

, less than a year after it opened, to reduce state spending. The state has a $4 billion budget shortfall. Crime lab supporters argue that keeping the lab open could actually save the state more money in the long run.

According to Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes, the lab not only takes on work that would otherwise have to be done in Raleigh, but it also saves local departments travel time. If getting a particular result is urgent, Barnes said, officers can wait for evidence to be processed on-site rather than having to drive back and forth twice.

“That has value you just can’t imagine or put a price on,” he said.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear arguments in the case of a Mississippi man requesting DNA testing to prove his innocence

. Steve Michael Fasono and his attorneys argue that Fasono was not involved in the 2002 robbery of a bank, and that DNA testing of clothing used during the crime can conclusively prove he was not involved with the crime.

Meanwhile,

Tim Kennedy is awaiting retrial with his family in Colorado while on bond

after DNA tests proved not only that another man was present and left the tested samples at the scene of a murder, but that Kennedy’s DNA was not found on any of the evidence collected. Having spent 14 years in prison for the murder of a Colorado Springs couple, Kennedy’s retrial is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Kennedy’s case, along with various others, is posted on the

Just Science Coalition’s news page

– you can visit

Just-Science.org

for weekly updates on forensic news.

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