Tuesday, November 16, 2010

UIS Downstate Illinois Innocence Project earns grant

College students in downstate Illinois who work on behalf of those who are wrongly convicted are getting a boost from the U. S. Department of Justice. The University of Illinois at Springfield has announced a grant of $687,448 for the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project.

The Bloodsworth Grant is named for Kirk Bloodsworth, the first death penalty inmate in the U. S. exonerated through DNA testing.

The project collaborates with the law schools at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Southern Illinois University.

Bill Clutter, the project’s director of investigations, says it looks as if prosecutors and police simply do not care who is guilty: “You have a person facing the death penalty still, despite these reforms, where prosecutors are fighting to keep that evidence from being tested. And we face this in many of our cases, and this is a syndrome of a mindset of prosecutors that I don’t know what reforms we can enact that can change.”

The grant was featured by WTAX-AM/Illinois Radio Network in a November 15, 2010, report.

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