Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $624,317)
This application for the Post Conviction Testing of DNA Evidence grant towards the Dallas County District Attorney's Office's Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) - focuses on intensifying our efforts to provide specialized, high-quality, and groundbreaking use of DNA technology. Established in 2007, the CIU reviews and re-investigates legitimate claims of innocence in accordance with the Texas law. In addition, the CIU reviews and prosecutes old cases (DNA and non-DNA related) where evidence identifies different or additional perpetrators. In numerous instances, cases subjected to DNA testing have provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Conversely, DNA testing has the capacity to identify the true offenders with outstanding accuracy. The project intends to further strengthen the well-established standing of this CIU by adding additional personnel and testing previously untested evidence held in Dallas County's local laboratory. In addition, thousands of pieces of untested evidence are scheduled for destruction within the Dallas County Clerk's Office. From a sample of thirty-two (32) cases sent by the District Clerk, so far thirteen (13) were murder cases, four (4) were aggravated robbery cases, two (2) were aggravated assault cases, and (1) was an aggravated sexual assault case. This project will advance the processing and analysis of this evidence for identification purposes, decrease the backlog of this untested evidence, and close cases. Dallas County is requesting the funding of the following positions: CIU Felony Prosecutor, a CIU Investigator, and a CIU Legal Assistant. Federal funding of this project will ensure evidence is forensically tested to completion and will provide the means to employ additional staff. This project is expected to be completed by December 2020. CA/NCF
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