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From the Deputy Director: Supporting the Effort To Exonerate the Wrongfully Convicted

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 76 Dated: April 2009
Date Published
April 2009
2 pages
The Deputy Director for Science and Technology in the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) describes ways in which NIJ is assisting States in reviewing their convictions in certain serious violent crimes to find any cases in which DNA evidence might prove innocence and lead to exoneration.
There are significant barriers to identifying how many wrongfully convicted people might be exonerated through DNA testing. NIJ is committed to giving the criminal justice community the resources it needs to address these barriers. NIJ has released a new solicitation that will fund additional States or local agencies working through their State administering agencies in their participation in the post-conviction DNA testing program. In order to assist those who want to build a coordinated post- conviction review team, NIJ recently hosted a Post-conviction DNA Case Management symposium in collaboration with the American Judicature Society and other organizations interested in countering wrongful convictions. In this symposium, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and forensic scientists from across the country identified strategies for building and managing post-conviction review programs. Five States that received grants from NIJ under the post-conviction program have developed effective models for other jurisdictions. Each of these States allows for post-conviction DNA testing and provides for the preservation of biological evidence in all relevant cases. In addition, NIJ plans to initiate studies that will identify lessons to be learned from exonerations. 5 notes

Date Published: April 1, 2009