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The Innocence Project Is Coming to Nevada

The Innocence Project Is Coming to Nevada

The Innocence Project is coming to Nevada. It's a grassroots effort to exonerate and support innocent people trapped in prisons across the U.S. Retired Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Douglas has been a consistent advocate of criminal justice reform, and he is pioneering the Innocence Project in Nevada. Keep reading for more information.

What Is the Innocence Project?

The Innocence Project is a nationwide effort to exonerate, improve, reform, educate, and support the wrongly accused. Universities and labs across the U.S. use state-of-the-art forensic technology to reevaluate evidence in closed cases to determine whether the accused is guilty.

So far, many inmates have been exonerated through the efforts of the Innocence Project. Another critical element of the organization's efforts is improving and reforming the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the justice system is fallible, and many people serving time in prisons and jails are innocent.

The Innocence Project uses strategic litigation, policy, and a monumental grassroots effort to fight for the innocent and give those behind bars better opportunities outside of prison. Once someone is exonerated, the social work team provides much-needed support as these individuals reintegrate into society.

A Second Chance for NV Inmates

The Innocence Center of Nevada will examine major felony convictions to give those who claim innocence a second chance at justice.

According to former Justice Douglas, "If it's one person out of 100, we need to do that. We need to have true justice. Justice should not be just for the rich. Justice should not be just for individuals who can afford the best attorneys […] Everyone deserves equal justice."

The Center will not reevaluate felonies involving sex crimes on children, but many convicted felons could have a chance at freedom if the Innocence Center can prove their innocence.

Several years ago, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson founded a special unit to investigate claims of innocence, but the caseload is too large for one group. The Innocence Center of Nevada hopes to take on cases that Wolfson's group may not be able to.

According to the board and other supporters of the Innocence Project, there is a significant need for reinvestigation outside of the DA's office. With more resources and a national network of support, the Innocence Center has the capacity to change circumstances for many innocent people in Nevada's prisons that are out of Wolfson's reach.

Strong Support

The new headquarters are funded in part by Fred Steese, a former inmate who spent almost two decades behind bars for a murder he didn't commit. Evidence showed that his confession was coerced and beaten out of him by law enforcement using unethical interrogation techniques.

Steese is not the only financial supporter, but he is a prime example of the justice the Innocence Project can provide. The court system is rarely kind to those accused of a crime, and despite their defense attorney's best efforts, a jury or judge can send an innocent person to prison without a thought.

Why Does This Matter?

Reinvestigation takes time and money, two things the justice system is short on at the moment. As incarceration numbers have risen since the 1980s, the court system has continued to struggle with millions of cases every year. Prosecutors feel pressure to wrap up cases quickly, which does not always allow the court to review evidence properly.

As a result, many people are reduced to a number in the prison system and forced to spend their days behind bars or in the yard. Many of the Innocence Project's successful cases involve people who were incarcerated for ten or more years before receiving justice.

Moving Mountains

Until the justice system can handle the demands of justice, groups like the Innocence Project will continue to move mountains on behalf of the wrongly accused. For Nevada, the new Innocence Center could help many families reunite with their loved ones.

For more information about the Innocence Project, visit here.

To learn more about what is happening in Nevada, visit here.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, don't hesitate to contact the Draskovich Law Group.


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