Friday Roundup: Seeking A Clean Slate
It was another busy week in the innocence movement – with testimony on forensics before the Senate Judiciary Committee and Mississippi adopting DNA access and evidence preservation laws. Here are some more stories on wrongful convictions and forensic evidence from around the world in the last few days:
Sean Hodgson was freed this week
in England after serving 27 years in prison for a rape and murder DNA now proves he didn’t commit. He petitioned for DNA testing more than a decade ago but was told – falsely – that evidence in his case had been destroyed. Testing on that evidence finally proved his innocence this year.
Two Illinois men who were pardoned in the 1990s after serving years in prison
were dealt a setback in court
were seeking to expunge their records of wrongful convictions, but the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that gubernatorial pardons based on innocence do not automatically clear criminal records. Holland was exonerated by DNA testing in 2003 after serving more than 10 years. Howard was sentenced to death based on a confession he says was coerced through torture. He was cleared based on non-DNA evidence.
The Georgia House of Representatives
approved a bill
today that would compensate
John Jerome White
with more than $700,000 for the years he spent in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor before White is compensated. Georgia is one of 25 states without a statewide compensation law; but the legislature has passed bills in recent years compensating individuals.
A story on National Public Radio’s Day to Day this week
explored the fallibility of eyewitness identification evidence
. In a guest post on the Innocence Blog yesterday from Erin Torneo
explored the story behind the new book “Picking Cotton”
and the ripples of injustice still felt 11 years after a wrongful conviction.
And the Los Angeles Times
considers questions raised about fingerprint evidence
by the recent National Academy of Sciences report on forensics.
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