News 04.08.10

Ongoing Cases: The Search for Evidence and the Fight for DNA Testing

In nearly 300 active cases, the Innocence Project either directly represents clients from across the U.S. or provides critical assistance to other attorneys. After a case is accepted, it can still take months or years to search for evidence and secure DNA testing. The three Innocence Project clients discussed below have faced repeated obstacles in their fight to prove their innocence. During years of litigation, these and other clients remain incarcerated, hoping for good news and—eventually—exoneration.


Stephen Brooks

has been in New Jersey prisons for more than two decades for a rape he says he didn’t commit. He first requested DNA testing in 1988; officials now claim that biological evidence from his case was destroyed in a 2004 flood. In response to an Innocence Project motion, a New Jersey judge ordered police to conduct a more thorough search for the evidence in Brooks’ case. The Innocence Project will request a similar search of the prosecutor’s office.

Despite the Innocence Project’s efforts, Baton Rouge prosecutors have repeatedly denied

Kenneth Reed

’s requests for post-conviction DNA testing. In July 2009, the Louisiana Appeals Court approved an order for DNA testing, but prosecutors appealed the decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court. Joining the Innocence Project in support of Reed’s request were nine former members of a federal commission on DNA evidence. The Louisiana Supreme Court is currently considering the request.

Philadelphia prosecutors have refused to consent to DNA testing in

Anthony Wright

’s case for four years. The Innocence Project argued the case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in April 2009 and expects a decision this year. Several key pieces of biological evidence could be tested at the Innocence Project’s expense.

Read more on

evidence preservation

and

post-conviction DNA testing access

.

Read about other noteworthy cases in our

2009 Annual Report

.

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