According to the Innocence Project’s latest figures, the organization has exonerated 306 wrongfully convicted people. The average amount of time the exonerees spent in prison is 13 years, while one spent 35 years of his life. The Innocence Project uses DNA evidence to help people get released. The group’s website claims that as many as “5% of all prisoners in the U.S. Are innocent.” Even lowballing that figure and assuming that 1% of prisoners were innocent, that would mean that 20,000 people are wrongfully imprisoned in this country. To quote my Grandpa, “What is this Russia?”
So far, in this state, the Montana Innocence Project has exonerated three men: Chester Bauer, Paul Kordonowy and Jimmy Ray Bromgard. Currently, the Montana Innocence Project is working on the behalf of Richard Raugust, who is accused of killing his best friend 15 years ago.
One of the founders of the national Innocence Project, cicil rights attorney Peter Neufeld, comes to Missoula to speak about the latest in forensic technologies and their impact on the legal world. Things in the lab may not be as quick and easy as TV makes it look, but it would seem that with the help of modern technology justice for some is in the making.