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IPMN Wrongful Prosecution Review Project

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $147,135)

This program is funded under both the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program (Byrne Competitive Program) and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 111-8), the Byrne Competitive Program helps local communities improve the capacity of state and local justice systems and provides for national support efforts including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. The JAG Program (42 U.S.C. 3751(a)) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, and JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system. The JAG Program authorization also provides that 'the Attorney General may reserve not more than 5 percent, to be granted to 1 or more states or units of local government for 1 or more of the purposes specified in section 3751 of this title, pursuant to his determination that the same is necessary ' (1) to combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime.' (42 U.S.C. 3756).

The Wrongful Prosecution Review Program is designed to provide high quality and efficient representation for defendants in post-conviction claims of innocence. The goals of this initiative are to provide quality representation to the wrongfully convicted, alleviate burdens placed on the criminal justice system through costly and prolonged post-conviction litigation; and identify, when possible, the actual perpetrator of the crime.

The Innocence Project of Minnesota (IPMN), through its Wrongful Prosecution Review project, will address a backlog of six complex yet promising cases that may result in exonerations, and will expedite new promising cases. Three of the six cases will involve infant death through alleged Shaken Baby Syndrome or other head trauma, and will not hinge on DNA testing, but on possible flawed forensic analysis of evidence. Using a half-time attorney, forensic reanalysis and expert consultation and testimony, IPMN will move forward on the identified cases, which have been stalled after their initial screening and evaluation. The attorney will also concentrate on the three other existing cases, and any other new promising cases that involve various aspects of wrongful convictions.


Date Created: September 2, 2009