Wisconsin Innocence Project Receives Department of Justice Grant

The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $249,901 to the University of Wisconsin for the Wrongful Conviction Review Program conducted by the Wisconsin Innocence Project under the direction of Professor Keith Findley. The Innocence Project is a legal clinic at the Law School that screens applications, investigates, and, in some cases, litigates on behalf of wrongfully convicted clients.

The funding will allow the program to employ two full-time clinical instructors and a half-time Intake Specialist. The Clinical Instructors are experienced attorneys who will supervise law students as they review cases, visit courthouses, police departments, prisons and other locations to gather documents, speak with potential witnesses, and locate physical evidence. The funding will also cover the costs of consultation with DNA experts and DNA testing of biological evidence, as well as travel costs and other office expenses.

According to Findley, "This grant will allow us to continue and expand the work we have been doing finding new evidence to exonerate the innocent, drawing lessons from the wrongful conviction cases to improve the reliability of the criminal justice system, and providing first-class learning opportunities for law students. It reflects the importance of this work, and enables us to come one step closer to meeting the need for such services."  

Submitted by UW Law News on August 23, 2011

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