CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

DNA Results in "Fatal Vision" Case

Not too good for the Green Beret doctor: The hair in his murdered wife's hand was his, although some unidenfied hairs were also found.

March 12, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another Article on the CSI effect

Here.   "There is no debating, however, one clear, very widespread result of these programs: The justice system is now facing what legal experts call, "the CSI effect," a TV-bred demand by jurors for high tech, indisputable forensic evidence before they will convict. " But it is debatable; here's a story about research done by criminal defense lawyer turned media prof. Kimberlianne Podlas at UNC-Greensboro debunking the CSI effect.  [Jack Chin]

February 19, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 6, 2006

Duke's Innocence Project

Dukelawlogo_1 A story about Duke's wrongful convictions clinic here.

February 6, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 4, 2006

DNA Washed Away in New Orleans?

Inmates and their lawyers fear that exonerating DNA samples might have been lost in the storm and flood.  However, authorities say that many Dna samples were saved from the basement of the Orleans Parish Criminal Court before the flood hit. [Jack Chin

February 4, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 27, 2006

DNA Exonerates Man, Brother Confesses

From CNN.com: "CONROE, Texas (AP) -- A man who spent 18 years in prison for sexual assault was freed Thursday after DNA evidence exonerated him, and his brother admitted responsibility for the attack. DNA testing was not available at Arthur Mumphrey's 1986 trial for the rape of a 13-year-old girl, but recent tests requested by his attorney showed Mumphrey's blood and saliva samples did not match stains on the victim and her clothes...Prosecutor Marc Brumberger apologized to Mumphrey. "We feel terrible about what happened to you," he said. Mumphrey's brother, Charles, confessed to the rape this week while serving time in jail for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He is unlikely to face charges in the sexual assault because the statute of limitations has expired, but the information could be used against him in sentencing if he is convicted of another crime and if DNA results support the confession." [Mark Godsey]

January 27, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ohio Innocence Project Wins Second Exoneration in Five Weeks

Cincinnati Law's Ohio Innocence Project, run by CrimProf Blogger Mark Godsey, has won its second exoneration in just over one month.  On Monday, Chris Bennett's guilty plea for aggravated vehicular homicide was overturned in an unanimous panel decision by the Fifth Ohio Appellate District. The OIP presented new DNA evidence (hair and blood samples from the passenger-side of the wrecked van) expert accident reconstruction testimony and psychiatric testimony, that: 1) Bennett was the passenger, rather than the driver, in the fatal 2001 accident; and 2) he only entered a guilty plea after suffering from psychiatric amnesia caused by severe head injuries he sustained in the accident and marked by memory loss.  Despite the Appellate Court's decision exonerating Bennett, he is still in prison and may be retried if the prosecution declines to drop all charges.  Coverage of the exoneration can be found in the Canton Repository, the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Cincinnati Enquirer.   

January 24, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ohio Innocence Project and Mark Godsey Featured

Another DNA Exoneration

Monday, January 16, 2006

After Innocence Commentary

Npr_3From Day to Day: "Madeleine Brand speaks with Jessica Sanders, director of the documentary After Innocence. The film follows the stories of seven men convicted of felonies, sent to prison and later exonerated by DNA evidence. Sanders tracks the lives the men through different stages of re-settlement into society." Listen to the commentary here. [Mark Godsey]

January 16, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Movie Screening: After Innocence

The film After Innocence, which describes the exonerations and subsequent experiences of seven people, will be screened in the following locations:

1/13 LA, NuArt
1/13 Sacramento, Crest Theater
1/20 San Francisco, Lumiere
1/20 Berkeley, Act II
2/03 Chicago, Music Box
2/03 Cambridge, Kendall Square
2/03 Denver, Starz Center
2/10 San Diego, Ken
2/10 Seattle, Varsity
2/10 Waltham, MA, Embassy
2/17 Milwaukee, Oriental
2/17 Dallas, Inwood Theater
2/24 Pittsburgh, Harris Theater
2/24 Minneapolis, Lagoon
2/24 Austin, Dobie
2/24 Houston, River Oaks
2/24 Santa Fe, Moving Arts
3/03 Salt Lake City, Tower Theater
3/03 Indianapolis, Keystone Art
3/07 Detroit, Detroit Institute of Art
3/17 Atlanta, Midtown Art Cinema
3/24 St. Louis, Tivoli Theater

Here's the producer's webpage about the film: www.activevoice.net/afterinnocence.html

January 13, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Innocent Man Executed? UPDATED: NO

From CNN.com:  RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Gov. Mark R. Warner on Thursday ordered DNA evidence retested to determine whether a man convicted of rape and murder was innocent when he was executed in 1992.  If the testing shows Roger Keith Coleman did not rape and kill his sister-in-law in 1981, it will mark the first time in the United States a person has been exonerated by scientific testing after his execution, according to death penalty opponents.  Warner said he ordered the tests because of technological advances that could provide a level of forensic certainty not available in the 1980s.

UPDATE:  NO.  DNA testing supports guilt.  But: One scientist explains the limits of DNA evidence; given other circumstances, the test could not be conclusive.

January 12, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Houston PD Crime Lab: Honest Mistakes or Intentional Framing?

After preliminary investigations of the Houston Police Department's crime laboratory revealed errors in approximately 1/3 of all cases, Michael Bromwich, former U.S. DOJ inspector general, is leading an investigation of 56 error-ridden DNA cases.  The investigation aims to uncover whether the errors resulted from honest mistakes or whether the crime labs tailored their faulty results to incriminate certain suspects. [Mark Godsey]

January 11, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

SCOTUS Oral Argument with Serious Implications for Innocent Inmates

From On the Docket at Northwestern University

House, Paul Gregory v. Bell, Ricky (warden)

Docket: 04-8990
Term: 05-06
Appealed From: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (Oct. 6, 2004)
Oral Argument: 01-11-06

Opinion Issued:

Subject: Capital case, habeas corpus, innocence

Questions presented: (1) Did the majority below err in applying the Supreme Court's decision in Schlup v. Delo to hold that petitioner's compelling new evidence, though presenting at the very least a colorable claim of actual innocence, was as a matter of law insufficient to excuse his failure to present that evidence before the state courts - merely because he had failed to negate each and every item of circumstantial evidence that had been offered against him at the original trial? (2) What constitutes a "truly persuasive showing of actual innocence" pursuant to Herrera v. Collins sufficient to warrant freestanding habeas relief?

More here.  [Mark Godsey]

January 11, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 5, 2006

UK Ahead of US in Using DNA to Solve Crimes on the Front End

Since implementing a DNA expansion program in 2000, the UK has quadrupled the number of crimes detected in 5 years.  If only the US could follow suit.  [Mark Godsey]

January 5, 2006 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boston: New Fingerprint lab After Errors

Ill-trained cops have been replaced by trained civilians in the Boston Police Department crime lab fingerprint unit.  Last year, a person was wrongfully convicted of a cop shooting based on flawed fingerprint analysis.  Story here. [Jack Chin]

December 26, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 19, 2005

New Texas Innocence Project

Six universities will work together and enjoy state funding.  Story ... [Mark Godsey]

December 19, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Exoneration for Ohio Innocence Project and CrimProf Blogger Godsey

Elkins_2Canton, Ohio man Clarence Elkins was exonerated last week from a life sentence for double rape and murder.  The lead counsel in the Elkins case was Cincinnati CrimProf Mark Godsey and the Ohio Innocence Project, which he directs.  Also representing Elkins were Jana DeLoach of Akron and pro bono attorneys at Squire, Sanders and Dempsey.  Weil Gotshal and Manges of NYC helped on amicus.  Three things about the Elkins case are unusual.  First, the defense team exonerated Elkins by identifying the true killer through DNA testing.  An indictment against the true perp is expected soon.  Second, Elkins acted as his own detective, scooping up a cigarette butt abandoned by the primary suspect, who was a fellow inmate with Elkins, and mailing it off to lab for DNA testing (it matched the crime scene DNA).  Third, the case resulted in a faceoff between the AG of Ohio, Jim Petro, and the local prosecutor who refused to release Elkins even after the DNA results clearly exonerated him.  Petro's bully pulpit ultimately helped force the prosecutor to back off.  Elkins spent 7.5 years in prison before being released on Thursday with all charges dropped.  The case will be featured this week on A&Es "American Justice," Geraldo Rivera, Good Morning America and the CBS' Early Show, among others.

December 19, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

VA: Random Audit Leads to DNA Exonerations

In Virginia, DNA testing ordered by the governor of 31 samples led to two exonerations of men who had served long terms for rape.  Hundreds of other samples may now be retested. [Jack Chin]

December 15, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 12, 2005

DNA Contamination in Arizona, Florida

Here's a weird one:  Some unknown woman's DNA has been showing up in tests done on evidence in Tucson and Florida.  The DNA does not match the victims or suspects, and given the variety and geography of crimes, it may be more likely to be contamination than that there is an unknown woman on national crime spree.  Story here. [Jack Chin]

December 12, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Atlanta Rape Exoneration--Served 25 Years

Story here. [Jack Chin]

December 8, 2005 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)