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Harold Buntin exonerated in Indianapolis
Posted: June 8, 2007 11:02 am
DNA testing has proven that Harold Buntin served 13 years in Indiana prisons for a rape he didn’t commit. His last two years in prison came after he was officially exonerated, because paperwork ordering his release was lost in court files. Buntin finally walked out of prison in April of this year after the error was rectified. He told press that “somebody has to answer” for the injustice he suffered.
"I'm going to move on and take care of my business," he told The Indianapolis Star for a story Tuesday. "But I feel like somebody has to answer for that. I never should have been in jail -- and I spent two more years there after they knew I was innocent."Buntin was represented by a private attorney. The Innocence Project tracks all DNA exonerations nationwide and recently completed an examination of the case. Harold Buntin is the 203rd person exonerated by DNA testing nationwide and the fifth in Indiana. Read more about his case in our Know the Cases section.
Read the full story here. (Associated Press, 4/24/2007)
Tags: Indiana, Harold Buntin, Eyewitness Misidentification
Indiana man freed 23 years after wrongful conviction
Posted: January 28, 2008 5:35 pm
David L. Scott was freed from prison today after an Indianapolis judge threw out his 1985 conviction for murdering an 89-year-old woman. Scott served nearly 23 years of his 50-year sentence before DNA tests on evidence from the crime scene – conducted at the request of his half-sister – implicated another man in the crime. Police arrested this alternate suspect in Kentucky over the weekend after DNA tests matched his profile.
Read the full story here. (Indianapolis Star, 01/28/08)
Read more background on the case here. (Indianapolis Star, 01/26/08)
Indiana Court Orders Recording of Interrogations
Posted: September 16, 2009 4:26 pm
The Indiana Supreme Court yesterday issued a new rule requiring law enforcement agencies to record suspect interrogations starting in 2011. The court ruled 3-2 in favor of the change, which will only allow evidence gathered in interrogations to be entered in a courtroom if the interrogation was recorded.
The move makes Indiana the 17th state to require the recording of interrogations in at least some crimes. The court explained the reasoning for the new rule in a statement:
"The rule change is aimed at helping police, prosecutors, courts and juries in their search for truth, justice, and due process of law. A complete audio-video recording, which captures the voice, facial expressions and body language of the suspect and interrogator, can be a valuable tool for law enforcement, courts, and citizens.Several cities and counties in Indiana already record interrogations, but others will have nearly two years to equip their facilities to begin recording. Indiana State Rep. Matt Pierce said the rule change is a positive step for the state’s criminal justice system.
"The electronic recording can provide strong evidence of guilt, confirm police gave suspects all required warnings, and ultimately lead to more guilty pleas," the statement said. "The recordings are also likely to lessen factual disputes in court and reduce the number of motions to suppress evidence."
"It gives a clear, objective record of how the interrogation went," he said. "If the police officer was out of line, you are going to see that. And you will also see when the officer did nothing wrong."The Innocence Project strongly recommends that states require electronic recording of interrogations; as the practice aids law enforcement by creating a clear record of proceedings and can prevent false confessions and admissions that lead to wrongful convictions.
Read the full story here. (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 9/16/09)
Read more about the Innocence Project’s stance on recording of interrogations here.
Tags: Indiana, False Confessions, False Confessions
Posted: February 9, 2012 5:00 pm
Tags: California, Indiana
Posted: March 1, 2012 1:45 pm
Tags: Indiana, Texas
Science Thursday - May 3, 2012
Posted: May 10, 2012 12:30 pm
Tags: California, District of Columbia, Indiana, New York
Indiana Police Cut Down DNA Backlog
Posted: July 17, 2012 2:45 pm
In the nearly two decades that DNA testing in criminal cases has become commonplace, Indiana State Police crime labs suffered a backlog high of nearly one thousand cases that needed DNA testing. As of December, that number is down to 389, according to the police department’s annual report.
The combination of a bigger lab in Indianapolis, new technology and the hiring of more biologists has contributed to a decrease in the forensic backlog in all cases, reported The Journal Gazette.
“Every crime lab has a backlog. The issue really is what’s your turnaround time,” said Eric Lawrence, director of forensic analysis who has been with the state police for 28 years.
“Our goal is to complete 75 percent of our cases in 45 days,” Lawrence said. “At the same time, if a police agency has some sort of rush, some high-profile case, or something that can be an immediate threat to public safety, we want to meet those needs too.”
Before Indiana’s crime labs caught up on DNA testing, they were among a handful of crime labs across the country that asked the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directories for an extension to meet new standards to remain accredited.
With most of the lab’s shortcomings being administrative, the department has already corrected itself and expects to be fully reaccredited next month, according to Lawrence.
Read the full article.
Science Thursday - August 23, 2012
Posted: August 23, 2012 5:45 pm
An Indiana woman convicted of murder based on arson evidence receives a new trial, a panel of exonerees speak about forensic flaws at a conference in Philadelphia, and laboratory issues in North Carolina and Minnesota affect criminal cases. Here’s this week’s round up of forensic news:
Kristine Bunch, of Indiana, was released from prison and has been granted a new trial after serving 16 years. Her conviction for the murder of her three-year-old son was reversed because the arson evidence critical to her conviction has been discredited.
Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld called on the American Chemical Society to help prevent wrongful convictions based on faulty forensics at a recent conference in Philadelphia. He was joined by three exonerees who spent years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
North Carolina prosecutors dropped a DWI case because a former state crime lab analyst refused to accept a subpoena to testify.
Senior officials at the St. Paul Police Department are demanding answers for the drug unit’s failure.
Tags: North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Science Thursday