In 2017, Indiana resident Keith Cooper was pardoned by Governor Holcomb for a crime he was convicted of but did not commit. Cooper spent 10 years incarcerated. The parole board had advised the previous Indiana governor, Vice President Pence, to pardon Cooper because all evidence indicated that he was innocent. Pence refused.
With the help of Loevy & Loevy attorney Elliot Slosar, Cooper was able to obtain the freedom that never should have been stolen from him. Cooper is now seeking financial reprisal for damages from the county that convicted him.
The Exoneration Project provides free legal service to clients who cannot otherwise afford representation. You can contribute toward this cause. Find out how by visiting the Exoneration Project’s website.
Like the Exoneration Project, the Innocence Project performs free legal representation for those wrongfully convicted of crimes. The Innocence Project is a national organization with chapters in several states. This organization’s causes are so venerable that bestselling author of legal thrillers and renowned attorney John Grisham is a member of the organization’s board of directors.
Recently, Indiana’s chapter of the Innocence Project was successful in exonerating several Indiana men by proving their innocence. Indiana University’s Frances Watson led her Wrongful Conviction Clinic to victory by getting Roosevelt Glenn, Darryl Pinkins and William Barnhouse exonerated for rape convictions evidence shows they never committed.
The Innocence Project provides free legal services to clients who cannot otherwise afford representation. Consider contributing to the Innocence Project. Visit the Innocence Project’s website or Indiana University’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic today.
According to the Innocence Project, William Barnhouse was convicted of rape in 1992 based on forensic scientist testimony that stated, “Barnhouse could not be excluded as a possible source of semen recovered from the victim’s vaginal/cervical swabs and semen in the inside crotch area of her jeans, which she put back on immediately after the assault.” There was unconfirmed presence of DNA not matching Barnhouse but the prosecution sold it to the jury that the DNA did belong to Barnhouse.
How did Indiana University’s Frances Watson and her team exonerate Barnhouse? Sophisticated DNA testing that remains available to the Indiana State Lab but is not used.
Darryl Pinkins also had re-examination of retained DNA evidence prove his innocence. Indiana University’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic utilized TrueAllele to separate previously undecipherable DNA mixtures and excluded Pinkins as a contributor.
The State of Indiana does not use this sort of accurate DNA forensic testing concerning criminal cases. It results in wrongful convictions identical to ones that occurred over 20 years ago!
Indiana is not the only state with laws allowing unsophisticated DNA testing to be used as legitimate evidence in the courtrooms. It could be in your state too! As voting citizens, you have a right to be informed and move mountains. Make sure your family is safe from wrongful convictions.
Let’s lobby for state labs to use only the latest technologies. In Indiana, the defendant is required to pay for all DNA analyses. There should not be any hesitation on the cost or affordability of this cause to take effect when we consider the people relying on its accuracy are the ones paying for the tests.
Ohio Innocence Project Director Mark Godsey explains in his new book Blind Injustice that judges, prosecutors, and police departments depend on convictions for their promotions, bonuses, elections, and funding. It is literally the judges', prosecutors', and police departments' jobs to incriminate people. It is literally the judges', prosecutors', and police departments' jobs to convict people. Sometimes, innocent people.
38 out of 50 states have judicial elections. These states have higher rates of wrongful convictions because judges feel like they have to "be tough on crime" in order to get elected. Likewise, prosecutors feel like they have to go onto the battlefield and shoot the wounded in order to keep their jobs.
Mark Godsey used to be a prosecutor. He knows what it's like to feel the pressure to come into the office and celebrate the "win" or answer to the boss somberly and explain "what went wrong." A "win" is a conviction. Something that "went wrong" is an acquittal (someone found not guilty).
Let's make a change. Let's either get rid of judicial elections, have tighter regulation on judicial election campaigns, or change the image of how judges ought to behave.
Judges are supposed to be impartial, but did you know most judges used to be prosecutors?
Ohio Innocence Project Director Mark Godsey on TED Talks
Like Indiana and Illinois, Ohio's Innocence Project has made amazing progress to free innocent men and women. Learn more about how to get involved by visiting Ohio's Innocence Project page or read Godsey's Wrongful Convictions Blog. Godsey is the editor of the blog and provides a wealth of information about the subject, the injustice, and the history of wrongful convictions.