January 22, 2009
UW's Innocence Project Northwest Receives Gift and Grant
More good news from the University of Washington. Director of the Clinical Law Program Deborah Maranville writes:
First, an unsolicited gift from the $281,000 RiverStyx Foundation will fund a staff position and symposium for the clinic, investigative costs for cases, and more over the next two years. This gift funds the clinic’s first fellow. The gift also has founded the Integrity of Justice Project, a public policy and education effort. The IJP will work to foster a collaborative partnership among prosecutors, law enforcement, defense lawyers, the courts, and others to identify best practices and procedures that can improve the accuracy of determinations of guilt or innocence. It is co-sponsored by the IPNW Clinic and the Center for Justice in Spokane.
In addition, the IPNW Clinic partnered with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Crime Lab Division and received more than $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant is part of $4.5 million the DOJ allocated to defray the costs associated with reviewing cases where DNA testing and evidence may prove innocence. In Washington state, when a court orders post-conviction DNA testing, it is done by the WSP Crime Lab. The grant funds will be used to hire a forensic scientist to compensate for additional workload stemming from post-conviction DNA cases, pay for outsourcing of tests not currently done by the WSP Crime Lab (e.g., mtDNA and Y-STR tests), and hire a paralegal to work with the IPNW Clinic. The paralegal will assist the IPNW Clinic’s identification, analysis, and investigation of state inmates’ significant claims of actual innocence in cases involving murder, non-negligent homicides, and forcible rape where DNA evidence has the potential to exonerate the inmate.
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