Eight Michigan Men Who Have Gone Free Thanks to the Innocence Project
Since its inception in 1992, the Innocence Project has helped more than 300 people who have been wrongly convicted get their cases overturned.
The group estimates that in the United States somewhere between 2.3 and 10 percent of all prisoners are innocent. The Innocence Project not only works to use DNA and forensic evidence to overturn wrongful convictions, but they also work with law enforcement officials to reform the justice system, therefore preventing future erroneous convictions.
Here in Michigan, the Innocence Project operates three independently-run offices, working to examine cases that could reveal potential wrongful convictions.
- The Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Innocence Project is located in Lansing.
The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project is the only post-conviction DNA innocence organization in the state. Since its inception, the office has screened over 6,000 cases.
- The Michigan Innocence Clinic is affiliated with the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.
The Michigan Innocence Clinic is the first exclusively non-DNA Innocence Clinic in the US, focusing on cases where there is no DNA evidence available for testing.
- The Michigan State Appellate Defender Office – Rape Kit DNA Screening Unit is located in Ann Arbor.
Although there are other Michigan cases that have been overturned with the help of the Michigan Innocence Project, we chose to focus on eight of the most interesting cases. Several of the men who've been found innocent have been exonerated within the last couple of years as DNA evidence has become available. Two of the men are brothers, whose case was overturned earlier this year.