Department Of Justice To Fund Reviews Of Potential Wrongful Convictions In Texas

The Harris County DA’s Office, the Innocence Project of Texas and the Anthony Graves Foundation will review 300 cases from 2001 to 2008.

The Department of Justice is funding a major case review of potential wrongful convictions in Texas.

A $250,000 grant will enable the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the Innocence Project of Texas and the Anthony Graves Foundation to review 300 cases from 2001 to 2008.

The research conducted by Jon Gould, a professor at the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, has found wrongful convictions could be due to anything from being a young defendant or having a weak defense to forensic evidence being misinterpreted or witness miss-identification.

Mike Ware, director of the Innocence Project of Texas, said the grant is important to help them reach more people who've been wrongly convicted. But that's not the best part.

"The main thing, the most important thing about the grant is how it encourages this working relationship among the three different parties and I think that things can come of it," Ware noted.

The grant money would be given over two years as the three organizations start reevaluating cases that were previously denied DNA testing. If the reviews of the cases show they should have received DNA testing, the project will then find evidence, provide that testing and the related legal services.

This testing and services could resolve claims of actual innocence. Thus far the Innocence Project of Texas has found 16 cases of wrongful conviction since the organization was founded in 2006.

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Brenda Ruiz

Brenda Ruiz

Supervising Producer, Houston Matters

Brenda Ruiz is the supervising producer of Houston Matters, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Brenda is a graduate from the University of Houston's Valenti School of Communications. She graduated in 2018 with a BA in Journalism, and a minor in Psychology. She...

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