Uncovering the Evidence Used by the Innocence Project: A Comprehensive Guide

The Innocence Project, co-founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld in 1992, has been a powerful force in uncovering wrongful convictions and exonerating hundreds of innocent people. DNA evidence has been a major factor in these exonerations, but the Innocence Project also looks at other factors that can lead to wrongful convictions. Social scientists and legal scholars have studied the ways in which human psychology and specific interrogation techniques can lead to false confessions. To help spread awareness of these issues, the Ohio Innocence Project and the Innocence Project created a series of educational videos. In cases where there is no DNA evidence, the Innocence Project looks for new evidence of innocence such as misidentifying eyewitnesses, testimony from a jail informant, false confessions, official misconduct, misapplication of forensic science, and more.

The Innocence Project also works with local, state, and federal levels of law enforcement, legislators, and other programs to prevent further wrongful convictions. Innocence Research is a website created by four researchers interested in wrongful convictions. It provides a collection of scholarships, popular media, upcoming conferences and meetings, and other useful resources for teachers, policy makers, researchers, and the general public. To highlight the contributions of statisticians working in this area, the Innocence Project helped coordinate a special issue of Significance magazine which included articles on the need for objective measurements, reliability, and the validity and meaning of a “coincidence”.The figures provided by the Innocence Project show that nearly half of their cases involve clients whose culpability is reconfirmed by DNA testing. In addition to working on behalf of those who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in the United States, those who work for the Innocence Project conduct research and promotion related to the causes of wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project fights to correct these systemic problems through strategic litigation, policy reforms, and education. The Innocence Project is not equipped to handle case requests or inquiries by email or phone.

Some 2,400 prisoners write to the Innocence Project each year and at any given time they evaluate between 6,000 and 8,000 potential cases.

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