innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Non-election news

Testing DNA at a crime lab Posted by Hello

For all those tired of reading bad political blogs pontificate on the election, here's some meatier stuff to sink your teeth into ...

The Chicago Tribune continues its incredible reporting on wrongful convictions with a series on junk science. In six articles over five days, the Tribune exposes the unproven methods, scientific myths and flawed lab work leading to those convictions.

In related news, the AP reports Washington is set to destroy a slew of DNA evidence at the end of the year. Apparently, the DNA goes when the state's law on post-conviction testing expires.

Monday, November 01, 2004

We report, you decide

John Kerry and George W. Bush Posted by Hello

While many bloggers use the forum for political ranting, the Innocence Blog is old-fashioned journalism and lets readers come to their own conclusions. That said, there's some clear differences between the candidates for those concerned with wrongful convictions.

John Kerry is against the death penalty in most cases, while his running mate and the Bush/Cheney ticket support it. Kerry told the Chicago Tribune that his work as a prosecutor in Massachusetts helped form his views. "There are cases in the system where there are miscarriages," he said, noting he stopped a number of cases from moving forward because he realized the defendants weren't guilty.

During the primaries, John Edwards said he wouldn't suspend the death penalty even with people being found innocent on death row. Both Kerry and Edwards supported a bill giving federal prisoners more access to DNA testing and grants states to improve their capital representation through training and other programs.

George W. Bush signed the bill into law Monday. While running for president in 2000, the former Texas governor said he was 100 percent sure that everyone executed on his watch was guilty. But a Chicago Tribune investigation of those 131 executions found many of the cases "were compromised by unreliable evidence," ineffective defense lawyers and unethical prosecutors.

As the Fox News gang says: We report, you decide.