Idaho Innocence Project puts new cases on hold after losing grant

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) – The Idaho Innocence Project won’t take on any new cases after its major funding source dried up, according to Director Greg Hampikian.

The Boise-based group uses DNA evidence to help free the wrongfully convicted. Hampikian and his team played a role in the acquittal of Amanda Knox, and they are currently working two cases in Idaho.

“I can’t commit resources we don’t have, so people are writing us, and I’m having to tell them we’re on hold right now,” Hampikian said. “We’re waiting to see where we end up.”

Hampikian said 100 prisoners or so write each year, but the Idaho Innocence Project can’t help them now that its grant proposal was rejected.

The U.S. Department of Justice didn’t award the group a two-year $220,000 grant. Hampikian volunteers, but the Project counted on that money the past four years to pay legal help.

“So who does it affect? It affects the families, and you don’t know if you’re going to be one of these families one day where one of your family members is accused and surprisingly convicted of something they didn’t do,” said Hampikian, who also plays a role in trials around the world.

Knox was accused of killing her roommate in Italy in 2007. Hampikian looked at the DNA evidence and helped her defense team. An Italian jury overturned the 2009 murder conviction. New evidence is expected Wednesday after the Italian Supreme Court demanded a retrial.

“That knife has no reliable evidence that it was used in the murder,” Hampikian said. “It is a kitchen knife that was probably used for cooking the night of the murder and had nothing to do with it.”

Hampikian said he is now scrambling to raise money to continue his work.

“I’d rather work on cases, I’d rather to do what only I can do. Somebody else can probably do this, but I’m the volunteer director, and I’m the only one left. The captain’s left on the ship, I have to call people.”

The Idaho Innocence Project has enough money to finish its two Idaho cases, according to Hampikian, but he’s already turning away others asking for help until he can come up with the money.

2 responses to “Idaho Innocence Project puts new cases on hold after losing grant

  1. The $147 billion a year criminal justice system to convict citizens, Innocent or guilty. $220,000 to help free an Innocent person from the corrupt malpractises of the judicial system equates to .0000015% to prove Innocence. $147 Billion to prove Guilt vs. $220,000 to prove Innocence. This proves it is “Guilty until proven Innocent”. Clear to see where the American Justice System puts its priorities. What can “we the people” do to get more funding and efforts for Innocence projects, and True Justice?

  2. Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Budget of the US Government:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/budget.pdf
    It is amazing that the budget can allocate so much money overseas, funding corrupt programs foreign and domestic, fraudulent and deceptive programs in the Dept of Justice, as well as other agencies such as the $92 billion spent on corporate welfare while only $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. Or that the Government’s nearly $1 trillion farm bill include payments to farmers expected to total $10.6 billion in 2011. Roughly $4.7 bil­lion—or 44 percent—of these payments are in the form of a “direct payment” where no crop is even produced. Or the deceptive Domestic Violence Programs that cost taxpayers $20 Billion a year and produce over one Million false allegations each year. We can continue on and on with examples of clear and open fraud, waste, and deception all over America even within Law Enfrocement Agencies, Governement agencies, and Private Corporations receiving Government Aid. So much funding available to the real criiminals stealing Taxpayer dollars to fund their criminal practise but, no funding to prove Innocence? No funding to keep the Innocent Free? America: Land of the Corrupt.

    Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.
    Translation:
    “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.”
    Variant:
    “The more corrupt the state, the more laws.”
    – Gaius Cornelius Tacitus; ca. 56 – ca. 117

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