At an upcoming Michigan Task Force on Forensic Science (TFFS) meeting, Michigan Exonerees and Innocence Advocates will share stories and discuss wrongful convictions due to misapplied forensic science. The meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m.-noon.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, 136 wrongfully convicted people have been exonerated in Michigan, with approximately 20 percent of the cases involving false or misapplied forensic evidence as a factor that led to the wrongful incarceration.
Statistics like this sparked Governor Gretchen Whitmer to issue Executive Order 2021-04, which created the Michigan Task Force on Forensic Science to review the state of forensic science in Michigan and produce their findings and policy recommendations to strengthen forensic disciplines by the end of the year.
Tune in to the August 10th meeting for a download on why misapplied forensic science is one of the leading contributing factors to wrongful convictions and how it can be addressed going forward.
The task force presentation will include the following speakers:
- Exonerated Michiganders
- Megan Richardson – Clinical Teaching Fellow at University of Michigan Law School Michigan Innocence Clinic
- Marla Mitchell-Cichon – Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Counsel to the Cooley Innocence Project at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Cooley Innocence Project
- David Moran – Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Founder of the University of Michigan Law School Michigan Innocence Clinic
Additional details can be found on the Michigan TFFS website here.
About the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project: The WMU-Cooley Law School Innocence Project is part of the Innocence Network, which has been credited with the release of over 375 wrongfully accused prisoners through the use of DNA testing. The WMU-Cooley project has screened over 5,800 cases and is responsible for the exoneration of six men: Kenneth Wyniemko (2003), Nathaniel Hatchett (2008), Donya Davis (2014), LeDura Watkins (2017), Kenneth Nixon (2021), Gilbert Poole (2021), and Corey McCall (2021). The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project supported the exonerations of Ramon Ward and Lacino Hamilton by contributing its DNA expertise and grant resources to obtain testing. The project is staffed by WMU-Cooley Law School students, who work under the supervision of WMU-Cooley Innocence Project attorneys. Those interested in donating and supporting the work of the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project can do so at cooley.edu/academics/experiential-learning/innocence-project.
About WMU-Cooley Law School: WMU-Cooley Law School was founded on a mission of equal access to a legal education and offers admission to a diverse group of qualified applicants across the country. Since the law school's founding in 1972, WMU-Cooley has provided a modern legal education to more than 20,000 graduates, teaching the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. WMU-Cooley enrolls classes year-round at its Michigan and Florida campuses. WMU-Cooley is an independent, non-profit law school, accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
About the Michigan Innocence Clinic
The Michigan Innocence Clinic formed in 2009 as one of the country's first non-DNA clinics. Since its creation, the MIC has successfully secured the release of 26 individuals who were wrongfully convicted in the State of Michigan for crimes that they did not commit. Nearly one-third of the MIC’s casework that has been successfully litigated involved the misuse of flawed forensics.