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Non-DNA Innocence Cases in Downstate Illinois

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $249,319)

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 Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act,Pub. L. No. 112-10, div. B, secs. 1101-1104; Pub. L. No. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3034, 3134. 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 Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, through the University of Illinois at Springfield, will use its grant award to enhance the capacity for legal review, representation, and investigation of innocence claims in the backlog of requests from inmates in downstate Illinois. Grant funds will be used to hire an attorney to work to oversee the work on non-DNA cases, increase funding for investigation of cases, and provide funding for the support services necessary in the increase of cases. This will enable the grantee to increase the number of cases it can clear from the requests it has received and allow movement towards exonerations in those cases where actual innocence is present.


Date Created: September 18, 2011