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.
The goal of this collaborative project is to investigate cases where someone was convicted of a violent felony and requests the testing of evidence where new technologies hold the promise of viable testing results. This goal will be accomplished by the Wayne County Prosecutors Office Conviction Integrity Unit continuing its partnership with the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Innocence Project to screen and identify cases where DNA testing of material biological evidence may lead to exoneration.
This project will:
(1) Support the review of approximately 200 cases to assess whether postconviction DNA testing may show actual innocence.
(2) Increase postconviction DNA testing in appropriate cases.
(3) Reduce the turnaround time in completing postconviction DNA testing cases.
(4) Support the timely and thorough search for evidence, as well as quality case review through the use of DNA and other experts.
(5) Establish and refine best practices for the state of Michigan.