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Beyond New Orleans Project

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $167,898)

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 New Orleans (IPNO) through its FY 2010 Wrongful Conviction Review intends to exonerate as many innocent prisoners as possible in non-DNA and DNA+ cases across Louisiana and Mississippi. IPNO has a national reputation for having successfully freed 15 innocent, life-sentenced prisoners in Louisiana and Mississippi, the states with the world's highest per capita incarceration rates. Their successes have been largely in non-DNA and DNA+ innocence cases. This project will meet the needs by 1) using IPNO's existing casework process to investigate identified promising non-DNA and DNA+ cases outside New Orleans; and 2) litigating those that pass screening and investigation. The project will employ an investigator to implement the project, and draft IPNO's existing litigation and case review teams into the project. By assigning a dedicated investigator, IPNO will be able to review cases that have been identified as potentially viable non-DNA cases, and investigate the most compelling cases in their intake system no matter the distance, rather than just the closest. The project will be overseen by management staff and cases will be merged into IPNO's caseload and assigned teams, team leaders, and internal deadlines.


Date Created: September 8, 2010