Friday, April 24, 2015

Innocence Project reviewing hundreds of Illinois cases seeking wrong convictions

Illinois is number one in the country for overturned criminal cases which result in prisoner releases, representatives from the University of Illinois-based Innocence Project say that's a bad and good distinction.

Executive Director John Hamlon told the McLean County League of Women Voters on Wednesday the criminal justice system is riddled with junk science. He said his group is busy going over hundreds of cases in Illinois after his group and another fair justice organization found that 28 examiners with the FBI's microscopic hair comparison unit overstated forensic matches to favor prosecutors in more than 95 percent of cases across the country that have been reviewed so far.

Professor Gwen Johnson of the University of Illinois Springfield said the criminal justice system is broken. She said her group is also working for changes in the law. For example, she's pushing for a new statute specifically for people whose convictions were overturned.

"It says that when you are exonerated of a crime if the conviction is overturned, your record should be expunged immediately,"Johnson said.

The story was reported by WJBC Radio on April 23, 2015.

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