Innocence Project

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Judge Rejects DNA Test 13 Years After Execution

The Innocence Project backed the test, which would have been a first

(Newser) - A Memphis judge ruled on Monday that the daughter of a man executed 13 years ago for murder does not have the right to seek DNA testing in the case. Sedley Alley, April Alley's father, was executed in 2006 for the 1985 murder of Marine Lance Cpl. Suzanne Collins.... More »

Supporters Turn to Governor and Courts as Execution Nears

Rodney Reed's team builds case that Stacey Stites' fiance killed her

(Newser) - The legal wheels are turning as Rodney Reed sits in a Texas prison, less than two weeks from his scheduled execution. New witnesses, he says, implicate the victim's fiance, Jimmy Fennell, in the rape and killing of Stacey Stites in 1996. An inmate says in an affidavit that Fennell... More »

Man Freed 17 Years After Real Shooter Confessed

John Miller spent 22 years in prison

(Newser) - A Philadelphia man who spent more than two decades behind bars for a murder he didn't commit is a free man—17 years after another man confessed to the crime. John Miller was released Wednesday after 22 years in prison, the AP reports. Surrounded by family outside the State... More »

Media Swarm as Amanda Knox Returns to Italy

She'll speak on 'trial by media' at Saturday conference

(Newser) - Amanda Knox is facing her fears . The former exchange student who was convicted, then acquitted, of killing roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007 stepped foot in that country Thursday for the first time since her release from prison eight years ago, per NBC News . The 31-year-old journalist will "... More »

They Said He Killed His Lover in 1998. They Got It Wrong

Horace Roberts is exonerated in the death of Terry Yvette Cheek

(Newser) - "It's a classic murder case, where you've got a husband, you've got a lover, and you've got a dead wife." One of those two men spent almost 20 years behind bars for the crime—and prosecutors now believe it was the wrong one. The... More »

Dog Saves Man From 50-Year Prison Sentence

Alleged victim claimed Oregon man killed her pup Lucy

(Newser) - The discovery of a black Lab named Lucy led to the unravelling of a criminal case Monday against an Oregon man who had begun serving a 50-year prison sentence. Joshua Horner, a plumber from the central Oregon town of Redmond, was convicted on April 12, 2017, of sexual abuse of... More »

He Wrongfully Spent 45 Years in Prison in 'Weak at Best' Case

Now 65-year-old Wilbert Jones is free after his rape conviction was overturned

(Newser) - A 65-year-old Louisiana man arrested at 19 and sentenced to life without parole walked out of prison Wednesday, saying "God is so good" after his rape conviction was overturned. Authorities withheld evidence that could have exonerated Wilbert Jones decades ago, and their case against him was "weak at... More »

He Spent 17 Years in Prison. Then They Found His Lookalike

Judge orders release of Richard Jones

(Newser) - "Everybody has a doppelganger. Luckily we found his," says a lawyer for a man who has been freed after serving 17 years for a crime he always insisted he didn't commit. Richard Jones was released by a Kansas judge after lawyers presented evidence that there is another... More »

Witness Recants 27 Years After Teen Jailed for Murder

Maine man serving 70-year sentence released on bail

(Newser) - A man who served 27 years in prison for the 1989 murder of a childhood girlfriend was released on $25,000 bail Thursday after the key witness in the case recanted. Anthony Sanborn, 44, had been convicted of killing 16-year-old Jessica Briggs and sentenced to 70 years in prison. At... More »

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 »

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