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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 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 New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Office of the Attorney General is seeking funding through this proposal to support and enhance the mission of the Conviction Review Unit. The unit reviews claims of actual innocence by persons convicted of felonies in New Jersey state courts to evaluate whether there is clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence. Conviction Review Unit staff will screen applications to identify those that qualify for DNA testing or retesting related to violent felony offenses. Those cases that are deemed eligible will undergo case review. Conviction Review Unit staff will review files and documentation to determine if new biological evidence or technologies exist that may demonstrate the actual innocence of the person previously convicted. The Conviction Review Unit will undertake activities to locate evidence related to these cases and process the evidence for DNA analysis.

The proposal will allow the Conviction Review Unit to review and investigate requests where there have been scientific and technological advancements from the time that original DNA evidence was tested or cases where new DNA evidence has surfaced. Cases processed with older DNA kits where no profiles were generated may benefit from a re-evaluation of the evidence to determine if retesting is warranted with the current DNA methods and procedures. Any profile generated may also qualify for upload to the Combined DNA Index System database and subsequently compared to more than 15 million profiles nationwide, providing a potential investigative lead with a hit to an offender or to another forensic unknown found in the database.


Date Created: October 15, 2020