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Innocence Projects at Santa Clara University and California Western to Share $2 Million Grant to Help Exonerate Wrongfully Convicted Inmates in California

The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Santa Clara University School of Law and the California Innocence Project (CIP) at California Western School of Law in San Diego will receive a $2.4 million grant to administer a massive DNA testing program titled the “Post-Conviction DNA Testing Assistance Program."

This federally funded program is designed to give indigent California inmates an opportunity to pursue claims of innocence. The grant will pay for reviews of eligible post-conviction cases of forcible rape, murder, and non-negligent manslaughter, and to locate and analyze biological evidence samples associated with these cases.

Funding comes nearly nine years after California inmates were granted the legal right to seek post-conviction DNA testing of evidence. But that is a right many have not been able to exercise because of the urgency of the state’s fiscal crisis, a strained judicial system and the large number of incarcerated claiming innocence.

The 18-month program will help solve this problem. Four lawyers will be dedicated to identifying inmates from among the 33 adult prisons statewide who appear most likely to be exonerated by DNA testing. It will also help pay for the thousands of hours that must be devoted to examining case files, searching for testable evidence scattered throughout the state, and for DNA testing and analysis of DNA test results. Read more.

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