Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $297,534)
The purpose of the Wrongful Conviction Review Program is to provide high quality and efficient representation for potentially wrongfully convicted defendants in post-conviction claims of innocence. This program is funded under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117). Post-conviction innocence claims are likely to include complex challenges to the reliability or accuracy of evidence presented at trial which fall mainly into three categories: eyewitness identification evidence; confession evidence; and forensic evidence. The goals of this initiative are to: provide quality representation to those who may have been wrongfully convicted; alleviate burdens placed on the criminal justice system through costly and prolonged post-conviction litigation; and identify, whenever possible, the actual perpetrator of the crime.
The Innocence Project of Florida, Inc. (IPF) plans to use their FY 2010 BJA Wrongful Conviction Review Program Grant of $297,534 for the elimination of backlog cases and to provide effective representation in post-conviction DNA testing cases. Since the passage of Florida's post-conviction DNA testing statute in 2001, most indigent inmates rely on the non-profit, understaffed IPF for representation in post-conviction DNA testing matters. IPF accumulated a considerable backlog of viable cases awaiting review and needs additional staff and funding to reduce this backlog. IPF is reviewing each backlogged case to ascertain the existence of biological evidence and determine viability for post conviction DNA testing; expeditiously move qualifying cases into DNA testing through stipulation or litigation; and work with local prosecutors to obtain release for individuals with favorable results indicating their innocence.