Archive for 2011

Innocence Network Releases Annual Report- NEIP has 1 of the 21 Exonerations this Year

The Innocence Network released its annual report today revealing that 21 people across the country were exonerated by Innocence Network member organizations for crimes they didn’t commit in the past year. Two men served more than 3 decades behind bars before being exonerated. There are …

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Kentucky Man to Celebrate First Christmas with his Family in 14 Years

Kerry Porter was granted an official exoneration and was released from prison on Monday after spending 14 years in prison for a murder that he always maintained was committed by another person. The Kentucky Innocence Project in conjunction with Louisville Metro Police re-investigated the case and uncovered new evidence which helped free Porter. Metro Police …

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How False Confessions Occur

Local NPR station WBUR ran a powerful two-part story recently about how false confessions occur. Many people cannot imagine why anyone would admit to committing a crime that they did not commit and in fact, confessions are the single most convincing piece of evidence to a jury, even more so than DNA. What’s frightening then …

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UPDATE- Freed Virginia Man Works to Clear his Name

(originally posted 9/30/11) In 1984 18-year-old Thomas Haynesworth went to the grocery store to pick up a few things for his mother. He never made it home. He was arrested by police on suspicion of committing five different rapes in the area after one of the victims identified him as the perpetrator. Haynesworth was convicted …

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MA Deputy Police Chief Discusses Line-up Reforms in CT

Wellesley Deputy Chief of Police William Brooks spoke before a legislative task force in CT in mid-November to discuss the feasibility of implementing best practices for criminal line-ups, particularly in small police departments. Studies have shown that when suspects in line-ups are shown to witnesses one-by-one, accuracy rates improve. When presented with each photo individually, …

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News Roundup: DNA Access Bill

As the House of Representatives debates pending legislation granting inmates access to post-conviction DNA testing several news outlets have written stories exploring the topic. In July, the Massachusetts State Senate unanimously passed S.1987 granting inmates access to post-conviction DNA testing. The legislation is currently under review by the Ways and Means Committee in …

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Executive Director, Gretchen Bennett, exoneree Dennis Maher, and reporter Michael Blanding will be featured on another local NPR station, WBUR 90.9 FM, tomorrow, discussing the DNA access bill. You can listen to them live on Wednesday, 11/23 at 3:00 pm. During the segment they’ll also take calls from listeners. The live call in number is …

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Arson science reconsidered: NPR article

NPR interviews Doug Starr, co-director of Boston University’s Center for Science and Medical Journalism, on new arson science.  Strong research and controlled lab experiments in recent years have challenged long held beliefs about the nature of fire, raising significant questions in arson investigations and convictions across the country.

Read the article and listen to the interview …

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Boston Globe Magazine examines post-conviction DNA testing in MA

Massachusetts is one of two states without a post-conviction DNA access law. Gretchen Bennett (executive director), Dennis Maher, Anthony Powell, Kenneth Waters (exonerees) and Betty Anne Waters were featured in Sunday, November 21, 2011, Boston Globe Magazine story about legislation to change that.

The post-conviction DNA bill has passed unanimously in the state Senate and is …

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UPDATE- Texas Man Free After 25 Years

(Originally ran 10/5/11) An Austin, Texas man walked free from prison today after serving 25 years for a crime that he didn’t commit. In 1986, Michael Morton was convicted for beating his wife to death after allegedly becoming enraged when she refused to have sex with him. Morton’s conviction rested on circumstantial evidence.

DNA tests conducted …

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© 2011 New England Innocence Project