Monday, November 24, 2008

Discussion About the Innocence Protection Act

This morning, we would like to bring your attention to the Innocence Protection Act. The proposed federal statute, has been pending before the United States Congress since 2002. The Act has always had broad bipartisan support but not enough support to be passed by Congress. The recent election and change in the balance of power may be enough to get this Act over the magic number needed to finally pass. And with Barack Obama becoming the new President on January 20, 2009, it is highly unlikely that a Presidential veto would stop implementation of this Act.

This proposed Act is an attempt to address the injustice that occurs when innocent individuals are convicted and sentenced to death when DNA evidence may be able to disprove their guilt. Since 1976, at least 102 individuals sentenced to death have been exonerated. Others have had their sentenced commuted from the death penalty to life in prison when serious doubts have been raised about their guilt. At the same time, at least 796 people have been put to death in the United States.

This Act seeks to place strict restrictions on the use of DNA evidence and allows criminal defendants to subject evidence to rigorous testing and screening. While it's difficult in some states to obtain such testing, this federal law would force states to adopt the standards set forth in this Act as a condition of obtaining federal funding.

For a thorough discussion of the Innocence Protection Act of 2001, please click here.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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