State Receives $307 Thousand to Investigate Innocence Claims
WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2009) The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced over $307 thousand was awarded to the state of Maryland to help defray costs associated with reviewing of cases where DNA testing and evidence may prove actual innocence. The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will administer the grant through the Postconviction Testing Program.
The state of Maryland Governors Office of Crime Control and Prevention will use the funding for two initiatives, an Innocence Project clinic and a Forensics Investigations Unit for the Office of the States Attorney for Baltimore City, Md.
The DNA Initiative, Advancing Justice through DNA Technology, provides funding, training, and assistance to ensure that forensic DNA reaches its full potential to solve crimes, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons. DNA testing makes it possible to obtain conclusive results in cases in which previous testing had been inconclusive or non-existent.
In January, NIJ held a national symposium to allow states to share information and ideas that could improve processes related to post-conviction DNA cases. The symposium also provided an opportunity for networking among key people from around the country. Approximately 300 attendees prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories representing 46 states and one territory were able to attend the symposium. Also in attendance were representatives from the five states Arizona, Kentucky, Texas, Virginia and Washington to which NIJ awarded nearly $8 million in postconviction funding in 2008.
More information on the NIJ-sponsored National Postconviction Symposium held in Tampa, Florida, January, 22-23 2009 is available at:
Additional awards were provided to California ($2.5 M), Colorado ($1.1 M), Connecticut ($1.4 M), Louisiana ($1.3 M), New Mexico ($924 K), Minnesota ($859 K), North Carolina ($566 K), and Wisconsin ($647 K) totaling $9.8 million.
More information on the DNA Initiative is available at http://www.dna.gov.
Source: The Office of Justice Programs