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Actual Innocence Projects Under Attack by Elected Officials

Over the last decade, the public has gotten used to the story of the wrongfully convicted freed after years of imprisonment by enterprising law students, journalism students and legal clinics.  The latest chapter in Actual Innocence claims is being written in Cook County, Illinois, where “the district attorney for Cook County, Illinois, had subpoenaed the grades, grading standards and electronic communications between students and professors in the Medill Innocence Project. Northwestern University runs the Medill project, which, during its 10-year history, has helped to secure the release of 11 innocent inmates,” reports Darren Hutcheson in Salon.com.

The full story can be read here.

The story goes on to note that, “The prosecutors’ subpoena has sparked almost universal condemnation. Many commentators view it as a blatant attempt to harass the students and their professors and to chill advocacy on behalf of wrongly convicted individuals.”

Only a matter of time, the cynical would say.

I’ve previously blogged about Innocence Projects and the wrongfully convicted here.  I’ve written on the Governor Rick Perry’s controversial actions regarding the Texas Forensic Science Commission here.

A question that should be put to elected officials lashing out at legitimate projects exposing wrongful convictions, “What state interest is served by the guilty going free?”

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