Innocence Project

13 Stories

DNA Clears Man in Prison for 16 Years for Rape

'Shaky witness' testimony erroneously landed Luis Vargas in jail in 1999

(Newser) - A California man imprisoned for 16 years for sexual assault was exonerated Monday after DNA tests showed another man committed the crimes, USA Today reports. Luis Vargas, 46, broke down when an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition to release him from his sentence of 55 years to life... More »

FBI Gave Bad Forensics Testimony for Years

Hair-comparison experts 'overstated' the facts, FBI admits

(Newser) - Impressed when an FBI forensic expert testifies in court? Jurors likely are too, but the FBI's hair-comparison unit actually gave unscientific testimony against criminal defendants for more than 20 years before 2000, according to the FBI and the Justice Dept. Among the FBI's 28 microscopic hair experts, 26... More »

Man Cleared of Rape After Spending Half His Life Jailed

DNA evidence shows Angel Gonzalez was innocent

(Newser) - A man wrongly convicted of rape is finally free after spending nearly half his life in prison. After hugging his lawyers from the Innocence Project, Illinois' Angel Gonzalez left Dixon Correctional Center yesterday with his arms raised, saying simply, "the past is the past." A day earlier, a... More »

Man Freed After Prosecutors 'Unsure' of 1980 Conviction

Michael Hanline has spent 34 years in Calif. prison

(Newser) - A 69-year-old man convicted of murder 34 years ago was freed yesterday after prosecutors told a judge they're no longer sure he committed the crime. Michael Hanline posted $2,500 bail after a morning hearing at which the judge ordered his movements electronically monitored and that he not contact... More »

Texas May Have Executed Innocent Man

Informant lied to strike a deal, says advocacy group

(Newser) - Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 after being convicted of an especially heinous crime: murdering his three young daughters in a fire. But a decade later, the Innocence Project says newly discovered documents suggest something else heinous: The state killed an innocent man. As the New York ... More »

Forensics From 10K Criminal Cases to Get New Review

Cases as far back as 1985 to get a second look by Justice Dept, FBI

(Newser) - The Justice Department and FBI have launched the FBI's biggest-ever post-conviction review, taking a second look at thousands of cases to determine whether defendants were wrongly convicted because of faulty forensic analysis. The review will examine all cases involving FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners going back to at... More »

DNA Test Frees Texas Man After 25 Years

Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife

(Newser) - Another inmate freed by DNA evidence: Michael Morton was formally exonerated today by a Texas appeals court for the murder of his wife in 1986, reports AP . Morton, 57, is eligible to get about $2 million from the state, or about $80,000 for each of the 25 years he... More »

DNA Clears Texan Jailed for 30 Years

Cornelius Dupree Jr. wrongfully convicted of 1979 rape, robbery

(Newser) - A Texas man who spent 30 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit was cleared by a DNA test, and a Dallas County court is expected to exonerate him today. Cornelius Dupree Jr., 51, was 20 years old when he was jailed in connection with a 1979 rape... More »

DNA Test Suggests Texas Executed Wrong Man

Then-Gov. George Bush's staff failed to tell him Jones was asking for test

(Newser) - A DNA test has cast doubt on the guilt of a man who was executed in Texas 10 years ago—an execution that went forward after then-Gov. George W. Bush's staff failed to tell him the condemned man was asking for genetic analysis of a single strand of hair. That... More »

Condemned Man Spared During Last Meal

Murder convict Hank Skinner granted last-minute reprieve

(Newser) - A death row inmate in Texas was spared Wednesday just as he was finishing his last meal on earth—chicken, a bacon cheeseburger, fries, catfish, onion rings, and a salad. Hank Skinner, who had been on death row since 1995, was convicted of bludgeoning to death his live-in girlfriend and... More »

Student Journos in Court Over Murder Investigation

Northwestern's acclaimed Innocence Project under fire

(Newser) - A group of Illinois journalism students found themselves in court yesterday, accused of flirting with and paying off sources during a 2003-2006 investigation for the Medill Innocence Project. The Northwestern students claim to have uncovered evidence exonerating Anthony McKinney, convicted in 1982 of murdering a security guard. Both sides went... More »

Death Row Challenges Hurt by Newsroom Cuts

Lawyers fear shortage of media resources may result in innocent people being executed

(Newser) - The huge cuts in newsroom staff around the country may have inadvertently condemned some innocent prisoners to death, the New York Times reports. Lawyers complain that many of the investigative journalists who would have once hotly pursued a story about a wrongly accused Death Row inmate aren't working any more.... More »

Innocent Con Freed After 27 Years

DNA testing confirmed he wasn't guilty of rape

(Newser) - A man who spent 27 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit was released yesterday after DNA evidence proved he hadn't assaulted his accuser. Charles Chatman, now 47, had maintained his innocence throughout his time in jail, refusing to give an account of the crime to the parole... More »

13 Stories