State hopes students will exonerate wrongly convicted prisoners with DNA evidence

    In the past 18 years, nine people in Pennsylvania have walked out of prison after DNA evidence proved them innocent. Now the state will launch its own “Innocence Project” based at Temple University’s Law School.

    In the past 18 years, nine people in Pennsylvania have walked out of prison after DNA evidence proved them innocent. Now the state will launch its own “Innocence Project” based at Temple University’s Law School.

    Transcript:
    More than 400 people have been exonerated nationwide since DNA evidence became available. Peter Neufeld began the first Innocence Project in New York 17 years ago.

    Neufeld says he’s learned a lot about why innocent people are sent to prison, such as faulty eye-witness testimony and false confessions. He says often times, innocent people will confess in order to end a harsh interrogation.

    Neufeld: “Now that’s counterintuitive, and I never thought it could happen, cause I sure hoped I’d hang tough. But sure enough we’ve proven through DNA testing that in almost 20 percent of these cases, there were false confessions.”

    Twelve students from Temple and Villanova law schools will be chosen for a course that begins this fall. The students will research claims of innocence and work on filing post-conviction appeals.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090407innocent.mp3]

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