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Secondary DNA Transfer

In 1930, the French scientist Edmond Locard published a journal article in which he laid the groundwork for what would become the field of forensic science. Locard said a criminal actor will always leave traces of his or her presence at a crime scene and will always leave with traces of the scene on his

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“Making a Murderer” Defendant Asks Supreme Court to Undo Conviction

Brendan Dassey, the younger defendant convicted of crimes covered in the hugely popular 2015 Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse his conviction, arguing police coerced him into making false confessions. Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the 2005

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After 21-Year Imprisonment, Wrongfully Convicted Nevada Man Pardoned

Fred Steese spent 21 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit. He was granted an Order of Actual Innocence in 2012, but was released from prison only upon entering an Alford plea—not admitting guilt but acknowledging that there is sufficient evidence to prove the charges. After entering the plea demanded by

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Fifth Circuit Vacates Child Pornography Sentence

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated and remanded the sentence of a convicted child pornographer. Jason Daniel Scott pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to 108 months of imprisonment and lifetime supervised release. As part of his supervision, Scott was not allowed to

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Innocence Project Emerging in Israel

Wrongful convictions are a well-known phenomena in the United States; the administration of one of the world’s largest criminal justice systems virtually guarantees mistakes and failures. Famous cases such as that of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was framed for murder and spent 20 years in prison, and whose case was made into a movie, have

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$5 Million Award in New York Wrongful Conviction Case

Daniel Gristwood was a 29-year-old printer when he was arrested for the attempted murder of his wife on January 12, 1996. He initially confessed to the crime, and was convicted in New York state court based on that confession. Gristwood was sentenced to 12.5 years to 25 years in prison. During his prison term, Gristwood

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Prisoner’s Disciplinary Conviction Reversed

By Christopher Zoukis The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has taken the unusual step of reversing a prison disciplinary board’s finding that a prisoner was guilty of committing a prohibited act. Timothy W. Austin was a prisoner at an Indiana prison when he was found guilty of attempting to traffic in

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Texas Leads the Nation in Exonerations, Costing More than $93 Million

By Christopher Zoukis On March 13, 1997, 41-year-old Dahn Clary, Jr. of Texarkana, Texas was arrested and charged with the aggravated sexual assault of his best friend’s 11-year-old son. The boy told his father and police that Clary had fondled his genitals and performed oral sex on him several times. Clary was convicted and served

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Exonerated Prisoner Appointed to Connecticut’s Parole Board

In an unusual turn of events, a former prisoner was appointed to Connecticut’s Parole Board. While ex-prisoners are typically not considered as parole board members, state officials decided that Kenneth F. Ireland was a qualified candidate. In 1989, when he was 18 years old, Ireland was convicted of raping and murdering Barbara Pelkey, a mother

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Prosecutorial Misconduct Results in New Trial in Connecticut Murder Case

By Christopher Zoukis In a rare public rebuke of a prosecutor found to have engaged in a “deliberate pattern of misconduct,” the Connecticut Appellate Court vacated a defendant’s murder conviction based on the prosecutor’s improper remarks during closing arguments. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Terence D. Mariani, Jr. was chided in an opinion by Judge Michael

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