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Representation of Wrongfully Convicted Inmates in Post-Conviction Claims of Innocence

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $180,749)

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 California Innocence Project (CIP) through its FY 2010 Wrongful Conviction Review will support the following goals: 1) increase the number of legitimate claims of innocence reviewed through case screening and investigation; 2) to identify and pursue new evidence in cases where there has been wrongful conviction; 3) consult forensic experts to identify and test exculpatory biological evidence in DNA cases or provide other forensic analysis in non-DNA cases; and 4) effectively represent inmates in court where there is strong evidence of innocence and overturn their convictions.

CIP will investigate claims of factual innocence in DNA and non-DNA cases using staff attorneys and law students. The Project will re-interview witnesses, look for new testable forensic evidence, and conduct DNA testing where possible. CIP will also seek to consult and collaborate with forensic experts to increase the chances of gaining exoneration. Through the case management computer database system, they will be able to develop a database of experts for future use, track the number of hours it spends on casework and uses for expert consultations, and categorize the types of cases involving the forensic research. CIP will accomplish its goals through the work of existing staff, and work toward establishing relationships and cooperation with key stakeholders (public and private) in the southern California legal community.


Date Created: September 8, 2010