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Post-Conviction DNA Testing Project Background

Since 1989, DNA testing has facilitated the exoneration of 511 individuals nationwide. Only 26 of 511 DNA-related exonerations have occurred in California—a state that incarcerates more inmates than any state other than Texas. Of the 26 cases, only six were in Los Angeles County—a county that produces nearly half of all serious felony convictions in the state. Additional DNA testing is required in serious felony cases within Los Angeles County for individuals who claim their innocence and DNA testing may establish they were wrongfully convicted while also identifying the actual perpetrator.

Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent (LPI) is the only non-profit legal clinic in Los Angeles County dedicated to uncovering and remedying wrongful convictions in murder and serious felony cases within the county.

In 2019, the California Forensic Science Institute partnered with LPI to establish a law school-university collaboration as a model to identify and evaluate post-conviction cases. The model also provides an invaluable experiential experience where forensic science graduate students participate in a service learning social justice project.

Funding

National Institute of Justice Post-Conviction DNA Testing Grant (2018-DY-BX-0003), Dr. Katherine A. Roberts PI (co-awardee – Loyola Law School, Project for the Innocent), 2019-2020


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