November 13, 2018
HOUSTON- The Department of Justice awarded the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX), and the Anthony Graves Foundation a $250,000 grant to re-examine potential cases of wrongful convictions.
“The Harris County DNA: Conviction Integrity by Second Look” project was created to address hundreds of cases that fall under the Texas DNA “Chapter 64” statute. Enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2001, Chapter 64 provides eligible prisoners access to post-conviction DNA testing to resolve claims of actual innocence.
“This collaboration is historic and a step toward ensuring fairness and transparency in our justice system,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
The project will re-examine approximately 300 claims of actual innocence between 2001 and 2008 in which DNA testing was denied by Harris County district courts. The project will investigate whether or not a previously rejected case was in hindsight eligible for DNA testing.
Upon this new review, if the case is found to have merit, the project will try to identify and find evidence, secure testing and provide related legal services.
Texas exonoree and now criminal justice reform advocate Anthony Graves will use his foundation’s resources to assist in the review process. “The Anthony Grave’s Foundation Humane Investigation Project is excited to partner with both the District Attorney’s Office and the IPTX to review old cases that once requested DNA testing and were denied. This is a step in the right direction toward true criminal justice reform,” Graves said.
“Through this collaborative effort we hope to correct all injustices and to right all wrongs identified,” said Mike Ware, executive director of the Innocence Project of Texas. “The cooperation of all three parties gives us the best chance of succeeding in our mission.”