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
Innocence Project of Minnesota
Kentucky Innocence Project
Midwestern Innocence Project
Northern California Innocence Project
Alaska Innocence Project
Cooley Innocence Project
(at Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan), the Massachusetts
Committee for Public Counsel Services
Innocence Project of Florida
Michigan State Appellate Defender’s Office
Arizona Justice Project
The Innocence Project is a separate non-profit organization from the organizations above, many of which are fellow members of the
– an affiliation of organizations dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project only handles cases where DNA testing could prove innocence.
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.