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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, $509,233)

The Texas DNA: Actual Innocence Discovery by Prisoner Self-Report project is a collaborative partnership between Texas Southern University (Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Urban Research and Resource Center) and Brass Facts (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit innocence project). In supporting the Department of Justice mission “...to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans,” the Texas DNA project will review postconviction criminal cases involving violent felony offenses in which actual innocence might be demonstrated using DNA testing. The project will a) identify potential postconviction DNA testing cases; b) review appropriate postconviction cases to identify those in which DNA testing could prove actual innocence of a person convicted of a violent felony offense as defined by Texas law; c) locate biological evidence associated with such postconviction cases; and d) procure DNA analysis of appropriate biological evidence. To identify potential postconviction DNA testing cases, Texas DNA will utilize a prisoner self-report survey, building on existing methodology developed by Charles Loeffler, Jordan Hyatt and Greg Ridgeway at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University (2018). This unique approach to identify potential postconviction DNA cases will accomplish the following “value added” objectives: 1) Estimate the frequency of self-reported factual innocence in non-capital cases within a population of prisoners in Texas. 2) Identify “young” postconviction cases with a much lower probability that biological evidence has been lost or destroyed, thus increasing overall case review efficiency. 3) Test the criminal justice system for volume of suspected postconviction DNA cases. 4) Test the criminal justice system for the effectiveness of wrongful conviction reforms. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 26, 2019