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.
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
Department of Justice Award - Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence
CFSI has been awarded grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice-Bureau of Justice Assistance to continue its partnership with Loyola Law School’s Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI) to review violent felony cases of clients who state their innocence could be proven through DNA testing. The objectives are to identify and review potential cases, obtain court orders, submit requests to conduct DNA testing, and analyze the DNA results.
Department of Justice- Bureau of Justice Assistance (2020-18438), Dr. Katherine A. Roberts PI(co-awardee – Loyola Law School, Project for the Innocent), 2021-2022
The grant award and partnership with LPI is featured in the Podcast Crime Redefined