Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $175,000)
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 Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC) through its FY 2010 Wrongful Conviction Review intends to support their Representation of Innocent Prisoners Initiative in Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada. Their goals are to improve the speed and quality of RMIC's casework by hiring two new staff members devoted to casework and making more funds available for litigation expenses. RMIC will also improve the quality of its post-conviction representation to (1) hire forensic and other experts and private investigators; (2) conduct more DNA and other forensic testing; and (3) conduct document discovery and witness depositions.