Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $500,000)
Under this program, BJA provides funding to help defray the costs associated with postconviction DNA testing for violent felony offenses (as defined by state law) in which actual innocence might be demonstrated.
This postconviction proposal covers the states of Idaho, Montana, Georgia, Illinois, and Michigan. One goal of the proposal is to leverage this diverse national group to benefit by experience-sharing and mentorship. This project will prioritize cases during case review. All cases that meet the general criteria established by the Idaho Innocence Project and the Idaho Forensic Justice Project will continue to the discovery phase, where electronic files, bench notes, testimony, and other relevant records will be requested. Cases where a single DNA test is an obvious first step are given the highest priority, and in these instances, every effort is made to achieve testing through agreement with the controlling agents. In total, under the proposed funding, it is anticipated that the collaborators can screen at least 200 cases, actively investigate 18-24, and litigate 5-10.