Category Archives: DNA

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Colorado Prosecutors Practice ‘Spin’ and Deceit

I have long been dismayed by the state of ethics within the prosecutorial community. Here is just one more example of why. This one stretches the limits of credibility to the point of being sadly laughable.

Between 2010 and 2014, prosecutors in Colorado conducted what was called the “Justice Review Project,” which was federally funded for $2.6 million. The objective was to review over 5,000 convictions to determine if DNA testing could prove any of the defendants actually innocent.

The “Project” consisted entirely of prosecutorial staff, with the exception of the “Review Board,” which did have representation from the legal defense community. However, there was only one case that ever came before the review board, and that case was imposed upon the “Project” by outside defense counsel, which had already paid for independent DNA testing. This one case was also the only one out of over 5,000 that the “Project” determined was suitable for DNA testing. The “Project’s” selection criteria had been set up to allow off-hand disqualification of essentially every case.

The prosecutors then went on to claim (boast) that the “Project” proved that the Colorado justice system is infallible, and that Colorado prosecutors “get it right the first time” all the time. Not only that, but they also had the unmitigated gall to state in their final report on the “Project” that the one case in which DNA was tested (which they had forced on them), and proved innocence, was their “crowning achievement.”

Now the prosecutors are refusing to release (hiding) records of the “Project.” So, the Exoneration Project is suing in Denver District Court to have the records released.

See the Colorado Independent story here.

 

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Exoneration doesn’t always mean freedom or compensation

Not every exoneration has a happy ending. Many end up like Danny Brown’s. Fifteen years after he was exonerated by DNA, prosecutors in Toledo, Ohio, still cling to the dubious eyewitness identification of a then-6-year-old boy to insist that Brown remains a suspect in the rape and murder of the boy’s mother.

In all that time, prosecutors have successfully prevented Brown from collecting compensation for the 20 years he spent in prison even though they have uncovered no evidence linking Brown to the man whose semen was found on the victim.

As The Blade reports here, Brown is now homeless and in declining health. Jobs are hard to come by even when he’s in good health because he remains a suspect in a horrible murder and suffers from the anxiety that comes with it.

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