Virginia Must Notify Individuals Who May Have Been Wrongfully Convicted


Reports of 78 convicted felons who have been excluded as the source of biological evidence through DNA testing by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science will be made public under the Freedom of Information Act. After July 1, forensic details from the cases will be revealed in response to FOIA requests from the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. Virginia’s General Assembly passed an amendment directing the release of the reports.


Earlier this year, Bennet Barbour was informed by Virginia authorities that the recent DNA review not only excludes him of the crime but also implicates a known criminal. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

Among those 78 cases, two men have been pardoned by governors, two have been exonerated by writs of actual innocence from the Virginia Supreme Court, and Barbour now has a petition for a writ before the justices.

The evidence submitted for testing in the massive DNA case review was discovered in old forensic case files at the state forensic lab that performed blood typing in the days before DNA was used in criminal cases.


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