Category Archives: DNA

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

The Oklahoma Innocence Project continues to battle for Malcolm Scott’s freedom…

Robert W. Wood of Forbes Magazine discusses why “Taxing Wrongful Conviction Money Is Wrong“…

The National Law Review covers the root causes of wrongful conviction

In Chicago, DNA proves Daniel Andersen’s innocence in 1980 stabbing…

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals refuses to grant immunity to  former Pennsylvania prosecutors in civil suit filed by David Munchinski who spent 24 years wrongfully imprisoned…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

New Jersey exoneree awarded $12.5 million for 22 years of wrongful imprisonment…

Rhode Island judge overturns 1992 murder conviction based on DNA test results…

The 9th Circuit issues landmark DNA ruling

Ohio Exoneree Raymond Towler gears up to perform with the Exoneree Band in his home state…

Friday’s Quick Clicks…

Michigan inmate’s request for DNA testing on evidence from 1988 murder has been granted…

North Carolina man reaches settlement agreement with county, wins compensation for 11 years of wrongful incarceration…

New York judge denies state’s motion to dismiss, allows widow to sue for compensation on behalf of husband who died a year after being exonerated…

Thursday’s Quick Clicks…

Police insider says a Chicago man’s false confession resulted from beatings inflicted by detectives…

A wrongfully convicted man who was released from prison last month after being locked up 27 years started work Tuesday at his new job as a paralegal

Alaska Newspaper calls for a change in shaken baby investigations…

In Wisconsin, a man convicted of murder seeks new trial on the basis that the murder was actually a suicide…

Georgia Supreme Court says DNA evidence suggesting a different perpetrator  not enough to get man convicted of sexual assault a new trial…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project seeks new DNA test in 1974 Virginia Beach rape…

The West Virginia Innocence Project seeks DNA testing in effort to prove client’s innocence…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

The New Jersey legislature has passed a bill that will increase the availability of DNA testing for all inmates claiming to have been wrongfully convicted…

The Michigan Supreme Court has granted a new trial for a Michigan Innocence Project client Leo Ackley…

Rhode Island expands law to allow DNA testing for those convicted of any violent crime…

Steve Wax of the Oregon Innocence Project explains the new Oregon DNA testing law

Thursday’s Quick Clicks…

The Governor of Oregon has signed a law that will expand access to post-conviction DNA testing…

The ACLU of Nebraska and the Nebraska Innocence Project are suing to obtain jailhouse records on behalf of an Omaha man who was convicted of murder in 2009…

The Economist reports a global trend toward abolition of the death penalty…

The Oklahoma Innocence Project has filed an application for post-conviction relief on behalf of a Tulsa man convicted of 2001 murder…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

Wisconsin Innocence Project client Dan Scheidell’s 1995 conviction for sexual assault was vacated last week after DNA evidence implicated another individual…

Texas exoneree Anthony Graves who spent 12 years on death row before being exonerated in 2006, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Houston Forensic Science Center…

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese and many others attended and spoke at the first International Innocence Conference held in Dublin, Ireland last weekend…

A Michigan man has been cleared of a 1992 rape after serving 17 years in prison for the crime…

According to LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Conviction Integrity Units are needed in order to preserve the integrity of prosecutor’s offices across the country…

Citing U.S. Innocence Model, Israel Grants Inmate Right to Post-Conviction DNA Testing In Case of Murdered Judge

From Haaretz:

The state has agreed to let a man convicted in the 2004 murder of Judge Adi Azar to send cigarette butts that were collected from the crime scene for DNA testing as part of his request for a retrial to prove his innocence, after the High Court of Justice suggested it do so.

The prosecution had originally refused to hand over the evidence to Yitzhak Zuziashvilli, based on the doctrine of finality of judgment. But during a hearing last week on a petition Zuziashvilli had submitted to the High Court, Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Hanan Melcer and Anat Baron suggested that the prosecution reconsider because they planned to accept the petition.

The Public Defender’s Office, which had joined Zuziashvilli’s petition, cited data from the Innocence Project in the United States, which is dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing. According to the data, DNA tests have led to the exposure of 329 wrongful convictions since the project was launched in 1992. In 149 cases, the testing led to the identification of the real criminal.

In addition to finality of judgment, the prosecution objected to the testing because Azar’s widow strenuously objected to have the case reopened, saying it would cause the family pain. To this defense attorney Shay Hemo countered with a quoted from Judge Dafne Barak-Erez in a different murder case in which additional forensic testing was requested by a defendant, who said, “The opposition of family members cannot be the only or determining factor, since the fate of the defendant is also at stake.”

The Public Defender’s Office criticized the policy of the state prosecution, which it said poses many obstacles to conducting testing on evidence for the purpose of requesting a retrial. According to the Public Defender’s Office, this policy has blocked the discovery of wrongful convictions and other errors in ostensibly conclusive verdicts, errors of the type that have been exposed in other countries by post-trial testing conducted on pieces of evidence.

The Public Defender’s Office cited seven instances in which it had sought help from the prosecution in locating investigative material to examine it after a trial. In four of them, the defense attorneys wanted the evidence to undergo scientific testing. In two of these cases the evidence had been destroyed, even though these were murder cases, for which evidence is meant to be kept forever. In the two other cases, the prosecution simply refused to give them access.

In the other three cases the defense attorneys wanted to read through and photocopy investigative material, but in two of them the material was never handed over, despite repeated requests.

FBI crime lab admits to errors in DNA profiles

There are lies, damn lies and statistics.

The Washington Post reports that the FBI has notified local crime labs that it has discovered errors in data used by forensic scientists in thousands of cases to calculate the chances that DNA found at a crime scene matches a particular person.

The FBI is downplaying the significance of the problem, but a scientist who identified errors 10 years ago in the DNA profiles the FBI analyzed to generate the population statistics data called the consequences of the disclosure appalling and said they could have led to wrongful convictions. You can read the story here.

Friday’s Quick Clicks…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

Juan Rivera to receive $20 million for 20 years of wrongful imprisonment

Juan Rivera, 42, who endured three trials and twenty years of wrongful imprisonment before being exonerated of a vicious crime, has reached a $20 million settlement agreement with Lake County (IL) authorities. His $1 million award for each year in prison will enable him to pursue his education and assist his family, but, as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times (here), Rivera said, “I still would prefer my 20 years back [over] the $20 million.”

The settlement cost will be shared by the county and several municipalities that contributed police work in the investigation of the brutal crime. The largest amount will be paid by the city of Waukegan where the crime occurred.

Rivera was convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker. His conviction was based primarily on a confession that occurred over four days Continue reading

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

Friday’s Quick Clicks…

$9.2 Million Awarded in Wrongful Conviction that Underscores FBI Forensic Problems

February 28, 2015 – Yesterday Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal E. Kravitz ordered $9.2 million be paid by the District to Kirk L. Odom, 52, in compensation for more than 21 years of imprisonment after he was wrongfully convicted of a 1981 Capital Hill rape and burglary. The Washington Post reported (here) that “Odom is one of five D.C. men convicted of rape or murder whose charges have been vacated since 2009 because they were based on erroneous forensics and testimony by an elite unit of FBI hair experts.”

In his District-record award, the judge provided one formula for calculating compensation damages: $1,000 per day for wrongful incarceration, $250 per day for parole time and $200 for each day between his exoneration and trial. The article noted that Judge Kravitz’s opinion comes “as courts are coming to terms Continue reading

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

  • In NY, the wrongfully convicted petition for prosecutorial oversight
  • Colorado to consider eyewitness lineup reforms
  • In Japan, will wrongful convictions be catalyst for criminal justice reform?
  • With a judge’s order throwing out his murder conviction in-hand, Tyrone Hood truly became a free man as he was exonerated at a Monday morning hearing after spending more than 20 years in prison for a slaying he’s continued to insist he did not commit.
    “I can’t even describe how I feel right now,” he said.  Nearly a month ago, outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn commuted Hood’s sentence, releasing him from prison.  The decision by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to dismiss the convictions against Hood and his co-defendant Wayne Washington, Jr. follows more than two years of investigation by her office’s conviction integrity unit – which began looking into the case in 2012 after the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project championed Hood’s innocence.  Keep reading…..
  • New legislation in Texas aimed at expanding access for inmates to post-conviction DNA testing

Connecticut Awards $6 Million to Wrongfully Convicted Man Now Serving On Parole Board

The state of Connecticut is awarding Kenneth Ireland $6 million after he was wrongfully convicted and served 21 years in prison for the 1986 rape and murder of Barbara Pelkey, a young mother of four.

According to the New Haven Register (here), effective immediately, Ireland will receive “$2.5 million for loss of liberty and enjoyment of life; $1.5 million for loss of earnings and earning capacity; $300,000 for loss of reputation; $1.5 million for physical and mental injuries; and $200,000 for costs and expenses.”

As reported by Phil Locke on this blog (here), this is the state’s first award by the Continue reading

Connecticut Makes First Ever Compensation Payment to an Exoneree

Exoneree compensation was approved by the CT legislature in 2008, but the state has just made its first ever compensation payment to Kenneth Ireland who spent 21 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape and murder.

Ireland was awarded $6 million on Thursday by the state’s Office of the Claims Commissioner.

See the aol.com story here.