News 10.09.09

U.S. Government to Fund Wrongful Conviction Representation and Training Efforts

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, an office within the Department of Justice, announced recently that it will provide nearly $2.5 million in funding this year for 11 organizations working to represent defendants seeking to overturn wrongful convictions. The funding is dedicated to organizations that handle cases where DNA testing cannot help prove innocence. The BJA also announced that it will provide about $100,000 to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to facilitate training to help attorneys and organizations to improve the capacity to represent defendants seeking to prove their innocence in post-conviction appeals.

The organizations awarded grants are: the

Idaho Innocence Project

, the

Innocence Project of Minnesota

, the

Kentucky Innocence Project

, the

Midwestern Innocence Project

, the

Northern California Innocence Project

, the

Alaska Innocence Project

, the

Cooley Innocence Project

(at Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan), the Massachusetts

Committee for Public Counsel Services

, the

Innocence Project of Florida

, the

Michigan State Appellate Defender’s Office

and the

Arizona Justice Project

.

The Innocence Project is a separate non-profit organization from the organizations above, many of which are fellow members of the

Innocence Network

– an affiliation of organizations dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project only handles cases where DNA testing could prove innocence.


Read more in the BJA statement on the grants

.

The Department of Justice also announced recently that it would fund DNA testing in cases of possible wrongful conviction in nine states under the

Postconviction DNA Testing Assistance Program

. The nine states receiving funds this year are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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  1. Stoney Lawson says:

    Does Texas compensate for wrongful convictions ? My case is unique I would say since a justice of the peace actually wore a robe and found me guilty of 17 counts of burgerly of habitation. With the only evidence submitted was a plaster cast of a shoe print that was size 6 1/2 and I wore size 12 at the time and still do. I think their scrambling to hide the paper work since I was told by the feds I could use over the trumped up charges. The justice of the peace was my sisters father in law at the time and didn’t like me at all. Would there be any justice served for a case like this ? Any information would be appreciated. I was told to keep quiet about this because in my small community they (being the county) would retaliate. And to make sure my family and my self should move somewhere else for safety. I don’t feel I should have to run and hide from any office that is supposedly run by and for justice.

  2. Ross says:

    I think this is a worthy cause and more money should go into it rather than spending millions on the wrongful conviction of innocent people. Also,there should be more stringent rules on how cases can be prosecuted in regard to actual hard evidence. Circumstantial evidence,in my mind,is not evidence at all. Hard physical evidence should be made mandatory in order to convict. Be it the weapon/s involved,times regarding the commission of the alleged crime or irrefutable DNA evidence. Our system has been in the grip of corrupt judges and prosecutors for far too long.

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