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Investing Claims of Wrongful Conviction and Exonerating the Innocent Through Post-Conviction Testing of DNA Evidence in the State of Hawaii

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $567,206)

DNA science has powerfully and conclusively proven that innocent people can and have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit. Given the fact that the rate of incarceration in Hawai'i is so high that it ranks 20th in the world, there is a possibility that the Hawai'i criminal justice system has innocent people serving time for crimes they did not commit. The Hawai'i criminal justice system is not immune to the common causes to wrongful convictions. The Hawai'i Innocence Project (HIP) at the William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL) and member of the Innocence Network, is the only legal non-profit organization which exists solely to represent the wrongfully convicted. HIP serves Hawai'i inmates with factual claims of innocence pro bono, and seeks project funding in order to conduct application review and investigation of claims on innocence and help with the high costs of seeking DNA testing at independent out of state labs. Additionally, HIP seeks funding to assist with travel costs required to conduct outreach to identify innocence cases and investigate current cases, as Hawai'i inmates serve their lengthy sentences in a private prison in Arizona. While HIP is located on Oahu, many of our cases occurred on the outer lying islands, which requires HIP to need additional travel funding to locate and examine biological evidence for DNA testing. HIP is seeking support in these areas for the more than 20 active cases and investigations held currently, as well as for the hundreds of requests and applications we will receive in the upcoming next two years. With the help of grant funding for this Project, HIP anticipates being able to exonerate at least two wrongfully convicted prisoners serving time in Arizona for crimes they did not commit. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 21, 2018