1. Grant allows state to review wrongful convictions
Associated Press, April 13, 2009, Louisville
Kentucky is one of five states to receive a federal grant to help find and review cases of inmates who were wrongfully convicted of a crime. The $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice allows the state to hire three attorneys and four investigators to scour the cases of nearly 3,500 men and women in a dozen state-run prisons, one forestry camp and possibly some county jails, as well as three private, for-profit prisons. The state received the grant in September, and it will be administered by the Kentucky Innocence Project and used to review cases involving possible wrongful convictions in which DNA testing might prove innocence.
2. Grant to Kentucky will aid wrongly convicted inmates: Team seeks innocent inmates
By R.G. Dunlop, Courier-Journal, April 6, 2009
In about two weeks, a small band of lawyers and investigators will fan out across Kentucky to begin an unusual, 18-month mission: searching for inmates innocent of the crimes that sent them to prison. Only a few offenses -- murder, manslaughter, rape and sodomy -- are eligible for the team's review. But the list of potential prospects is long: nearly 3,500 men and women in a dozen state-run institutions, one forestry camp and possibly some county jails, plus more in three private, for-profit facilities operated by Corrections Corp. of America. In addition, there could be cases involving parolees or former inmates who have served out their sentences and whose whereabouts are unknown because they are no longer under state supervision. The three lawyers and four investigators, some of whom have not yet been hired, will be operating under a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Justice grant that the state received in September. Administered by the Kentucky Innocence Project, the grant will be used to review cases involving possible wrongful convictions and in which DNA testing may prove innocence. Kentucky is one of just five states to win the grant money.
3. Law students help free the innocent: Kentucky Innocence Project incorporated into Chase College of Law two-credit elective
By: Sarah Lowman, The Northerner (Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University), Published January 26, 2005 and Updated January 7, 2009
It's like something out of a John Grisham novel. As part of the Kentucky Innocence Project, 10 third-year law students from Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University are working to free inmates in Kentucky prisons who are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. The program was created in Kentucky by the Department of Public Advocacy as an answer to the public concern about innocent people behind bars. The department sends lengthy applications to inmates who claim actual innocence and have new evidence to support their claim. The department is then responsible for the initial screening of the applications, and the ones that pass the department's qualifications are handed off to law students and their supervisors.
Diana Queen, criminal defense investigator for the Department of Public Advocacy, believes that NKU students have been critical to work done for the project. "The NKU students are terrific," Queen said. "We'll see several exonerations because of their hard work, and we're grateful to NKU for being involved."
4. UK program helps free innocent prisoners
By: Kelly Berger, Kentucky Kernel (Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Kentucky), February 8, 2009
UK law students working on the Kentucky Innocence Project may gain real-world legal experience, but working to prove prisoners’ claims of innocence is the most rewarding part, said the project’s director. “The most rewarding part is to be there when an innocent person walks out of prison and to see the smiles and tears on the faces of our clients and his family, and the students who have worked so hard to help him,” KIP Project Coordinator Gordon Rahn said. “When that happens, you know you have done something right.”UK is one of four law schools in Kentucky that offers its students the opportunity to participate in the KIP externship, which helps prove actual claims of innocence by Kentucky prisoners. The program was founded in 2001 and is administrated by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.
5. After 200 DNA Exonerations Nationwide, State Begins to Look at Causes of Wrongful Convictions
By: Marguerite Thomas, DPA Adult Post-Conviction Branch Manager; The Advocate, Journal of Criminal Justice Education and Research at the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy; Volume 29, Issue 3, July 2007, pg. 4
In Illinois when the new DNA tests proved that Jerry Miller did not commit a brutal rape in Chicago for which he was convicted in 1982, the Innocence Project said that Miller was the 200th person in the nation exonerated through DNA evidence. On Monday, April 23, 2007, in Chicago, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, who co-founded the Innocence Project at Cardozo School of Law in 1992 and are Co-Directors of the
national organization, said the 200 DNA exonerations “are the greatest data set ever on the causes of wrongful convictions in the U.S. and yet just the tip of the iceberg,” since so few cases involve evidence that can be subjected to DNA testing. Immediately following Miller’s exoneration, the Innocence Project launched “200 Exonerated, Too Many Wrongfully Convicted,” a month-long national campaign to address and prevent wrongful convictions.
6. Kentucky Innocence Project: Two More Wrongful Convictions Set Aside
By: Melanie Lowe, DPA Kentucky Innocence Project, and Marguerite Thomas, Post-Conviction Branch Manger; The Advocate, Journal of Criminal Justice Education and Research at the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy; Volume 28, Issue 3, May 2006, pg. 18
The Kentucky Innocence Project (KIP) is pleased to announce two more wrongful convictions have been set aside. Both clients were released on Friday May 5, 2006, the culmination of months of investigation and litigation. In the first case, Kenton County Judge Patricia Summe vacated Timothy Smith’s 2001 conviction and twenty-year sentence for sodomy in the first degree. After serving five years for a crime he steadfastly has maintained he did not commit, Mr. Smith walked out of the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex. DPA’s KIP worked with law students at Chase College of Law, located at Northern Kentucky University, and a private attorney, Patrick Lamb, of Chicago, to investigate Mr. Smith’s claim of factual innocence. […] In the second case, on April 26, 2006, Butler Circuit Court Judge Ronnie Dortch entered an order dismissing a sex abuse and sodomy conviction and fifty-five year sentence because the defendant, Ben Kiper, has proven he is an innocent man.
7. Bizarre Death Four Years After Trial Leads To Tossed Conviction
Associated Press, 2006, Louisville
When Timothy Smith was convicted five years ago of sexually abusing his daughter Katie, his pleas of innocence largely went ignored. Testimony by an expert witness who said Katie suffered from "repressed memory syndrome" and was just then remembering incidents that allegedly happened five to ten years before helped convince the jury to lock up her father for 20 years. With no physical evidence in the case, Smith could only keep denying his daughter's claims. But the bizarre circumstances leading to Katie's death last year put Smith's case -- for which he had already served four years in prison -- back in the spotlight. A Chicago lawyer and the Kentucky Innocence Project questioned whether Smith received a fair trial, leading to a judge's decision this week to overturn his conviction.