News 12.18.09

Friday Roundup: The Innocence Network Recaps a Successful 2009


A report released today

by the Innocence Network delves into the cases of the 27 people exonerated this year through the work of the network’s 54 member organizations. The 27 exonerees served a total of 421 years behind bars.

Yesterday,

James Bain was freed from prison in Florida

after serving 35 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He served more time in prison than any other DNA exoneree in American history, and his case was featured on CBS Evening News last night.

University of Central Florida researchers

set four one-bedroom apartments on fire

yesterday as they tested methods of detecting arson. The forensic science behind arson investigations has come under fire recently amid controversy over the 2004 execution of

Cameron Todd Willingham

in Texas.

A trial is set to begin in March in Connecticut in

the case of Duane Foster

, the man accused of committing the sexual assault for which James Tillman served more than 16 years in prison. Tillman was freed in 2006 after DNA testing proved his innocence and implicated Foster. 


The Houston Chronicle

ran an editorial on the recent report revealing fingerprint errors in the Houston Police Department crime lab, writing that “Houston still needs to move forensic investigations out of its police department.”

A new article in the

Marquette Law Review

examines the legal system’s blindness to eyewitness identification problems. While some police in Kansas City said they would study new lineup procedures but local departments are reluctant to change. “At this juncture I’d be somewhat reluctant to make a bunch of sweeping changes just because it’s the vogue thing to do on the East Coast,” Liberty Police Lt. Mark Balzer told the

Kansas City Star

.


Four Maryland crime labs will receive $1.2 million

in federal stimulus funds to clear DNA testing backlogs.

An editorial in the

Post-Tribune

of Northwest Indiana called for sweeping changes to prevent wrongful convictions in the state.

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the day

Clyde Charles

was exonerated in Louisiana after serving 17 years in prison. Sadly, Charles passed away on January 7 of this year at age 55. This week also marks the exoneration anniversaries of

Kerry Kotler

,

McKinley Cromedy

,

Phillip Leon Thurman

,

Clarence Elkins

,

Frank Lee Smith

,

Antron McCray

,

Korey Wise

,

Yusef Salaam

and

Raymond Santana

.


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