March 12, 2009
Last August, the Inquirer Editorial Board pointed out that Philadelphia was one of the few major cities in the country that lacked a local office affiliated with the Innocence Project - which uses DNA evidence to free people wrongly convicted of crimes. Six months later, we're happy to report the Innocence Project is opening an office at the Temple University Beasley School of Law. The office will be run by Marissa Boyers Bluestine from the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
April 27, 2008
Hardly a month goes by anymore without news of another person's being released from prison for a crime he didn't commit. The release usually comes after the wrongly convicted person has spent years behind bars. The organization behind the effort to right the wrong is often the Innocence Project. The New York-based nonprofit was founded in 1992 to help inmates fight wrongful convictions through the use of DNA evidence. To date, the Innocence Project has helped to exonerate more than 200 people, including 16 who were sentenced to death.
May 27, 2006 |
Larry Peterson always believed his innocence would be revealed after he was arrested for rape and murder in 1987. Even when prosecutors said he should be executed. Even when the judge gave him 40 years behind bars. He just didn't imagine it would take a third of his life for it to happen. "The Prosecutor's Office is supposed to be about justice, not about hanging innocent people," Peterson, 55, of Pemberton Township, said yesterday. "Today, finally, something was done that was right.
September 21, 2011 |
A STATE GOVERNMENT committee yesterday released a report citing 11 cases of prisoners' being cleared by DNA of wrongful conviction and urged the Pennsylvania Legislature to change the law to prevent future faulty convictions. A leader with the Innocence Project called the report to the Senate Judiciary Committee the tip of the iceberg as far as wrongful convictions are concerned. But the Pennsylvania District Attorneys' Association said that the committee's conclusions were predetermined and that its findings would create roadblocks.
July 11, 2007 |
At the age of 77, Louise Talley was raped and stabbed to death in her Nicetown home - and Anthony Wright signed a confession saying that he did it. But his lawyer argued yesterday that Wright is still entitled to DNA testing of evidence that could exonerate him and free him from his life prison term. "This may be one of those cases where it turns out he's guilty," his lawyer, Nina Morrison, of the New York-based Innocence Project, told a state Superior Court panel. But, she added, "the shame and, really, the horror would be if this was a case that he was not guilty.
March 18, 2013 |
Two men spent more than a decade behind bars before DNA evidence exonerated them. After their release, one married, held a steady job, and earned a pension. The other is on welfare and lives with his mother. What separates their situations? Mainly, a river. While individual traits and circumstances surely played a role in the former inmates' differing destinies, prison reform advocates say it was crucial that one received a hand up from the state upon release and the other did not. Since 1997, New Jersey has compensated the wrongfully convicted with at least $20,000 for each year of incarceration.
May 22, 2006 |
Bill Moushey's Innocence Institute in Pittsburgh, with the assistance of college journalism students, works to free people wrongly convicted of crimes, including murder. He gets hundreds of letters from state inmates from Philadelphia, but he can't help them. He can't afford to reach across Pennsylvania to work on their cases. That should be the job of the Innocence Institute in Philadelphia. Except that there isn't one - or anything like it. Moushey raised the issue this month during his keynote address to the Pennsylvania Prison Society at the National Constitution Center.
August 20, 2012 |
What can chemistry do to help doctors detect cancer? To exonerate the wrongly convicted? And clarify the causes of climate change? These are some of the issues that will be addressed this week as 14,000 scientists descend on the Convention Center for a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Though the theme is "Materials for Medicine and Health," more than 8,000 planned sessions will range into nutrition, brain science, biodegradable plastics, solar cells, and forensics. The Washington-based ACS, which boasts of being the world's largest scientific society, holds two meetings a year in various cities.
June 21, 2010 |
Saying that convictions are all too often based on inaccurate eyewitness identification, a special report ordered by the New Jersey Supreme Court is calling for mandatory pretrial hearings to evaluate the testimony of eyewitnesses in criminal cases. The report, filed this morning, also recommended that judges adopt and implement the findings of a wealth of scientific studies that offer guidance on how to ensure greater reliability. If adopted by the state's high court, New Jersey would have the most rigorous system in place to deal with the growing recognition that eyewitness testimony - which has long been known to carry great weight with juries - is often flat out wrong.
December 29, 2013 |
Gov. Christie on Friday signed into law a bill increasing compensation for people who are wrongfully imprisoned, from $20,000 per year of incarceration to $50,000. The increase in the cap on statutory damages to $50,000 per year - or twice the claimant's income in the year before incarceration, whichever is greater - puts New Jersey in line with what federal law provides, according to the nonprofit Innocence Project. New Jersey is among 29 states and the District of Columbia providing some form of compensation to victims.