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Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $499,337)

Identifying, Remedying, and Preventing Convictions Based Upon Eyewitness Misidentifications is a partnership between the University Of Missouri School Of Law and the Midwest Innocence Project (MIP), its purpose to implement a review of Missouri cases involving claims of innocence and eyewitness identifications where DNA may be able to exonerate the defendant. Of the 364 exonerations resulting from DNA testing nationally, 255 (or 70%) involved eyewitness misidentification – making it the leading contributing cause in these cases. Startlingly, 81 (or 32%) of those cases involved multiple eyewitnesses misidentifying the same innocent suspect. These patterns hold true in Missouri: of the nine DNA-based exonerations to date, 8 (or 89%) involved eyewitness misidentification. The individuals in Missouri who were misidentified, wrongfully convicted, and subsequently exonerated by DNA evidence spent a collective 122 years in prison. Although many states have made efforts to pass reform to prevent future eyewitness misidentifications, Missouri is not among them. The Midwest Innocence Project’s mission is to educate about, advocate for, and obtain and support the exoneration and release of wrongfully convicted people in the Midwest. Through this project, the Midwest Innocence Project, “MIP,” seeks to leverage these historical numbers by implementing a program whereby a Supervising Attorney, clinic law students, and MIP staff expertise can prioritize these important cases, and can recommend them, where appropriate, to the Conviction Integrity Units, or “CIU”s, in St. Louis to exonerate Missourians wrongfully convicted with faulty eyewitness testimony. The partners expect to review 380 cases over the project period. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 16, 2019