Friday Roundup: From Australia to the U.S., Public Defense Falls Short



Farah Jama, a 22-year-old Australian man,

was freed this week

after a court found that he had been convicted based on contaminated DNA evidence. He had served over a year in prison, and

an editorial today

in the Sydney Morning Herald said funding for public defense is below 1997 levels and is contributing to injustices.

Indigent defense funding shortfalls have been a prominent issue in the U.S. this year as well, and Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck will join a panel of experts

Monday in Detroit

at a hearing organized by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

A New York man was cleared this week after four years in prison for a rape evidence now shows he didn’t commit.

William McCaffrey was cleared of rape charges

after the victim in the case recanted her testimony.

A former president of Florida State University and the American Bar Association

called on Florida’s Supreme Court to form a panel

to review wrongful convictions and recommend measures to prevent injustice.


Wilder “Ken” Berry served eight years in Illinois prisons before he was freed on evidence pointing to his innocence.

Today he works as a senior paralegal at one of Chicago’s biggest law firms

and serves on an Illinois Department of Corrections advisory board.

Bruce Lisker was freed in August after 26 years in prison when his murder conviction was overturned based on evidence of innocence.

LA Observed published its third article this week

in a series following Lisker’s return to society.

The Minnesota Daily profiled the work of

the Innocence Project of Minnesota and the case of Sherman Townsend


Cedric Willis, who served 12 years in a Mississippi prison before he was exonerated,

will receive $500,000

from the state. While he’s happy to receive the compensation, Willis told the Jackson Free Press: “You just can’t get back those years.”

An editorial in the Free Press called for prosecutors to be held accountable


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