Review of 14,000 Cases Using DNA Finds No Wrongful Convictions
A review of 14,000 criminal convictions in Minnesota found that no one was wrongly imprisoned among those cases, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
Investigators reviewed all murder and sex crime cases in Minnesota from 1982 to 1999. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Innocence Project of Minnesota and the Office of Minnesota Board of Public Defense used a federal grant to determine if anyone could be exonerated using DNA technology.
Freeman and Robert Small, executive director of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, announced the results of the study at a news conference Wednesday morning.
"Frankly, I didn't think the results would be this good," Freeman said. "We acknowledge prosecutors are human, we make mistakes. We must continually review how we do our job."
Two cases are still pending. One of those cases involves convicted serial killer Billy Glaze. Freeman said that Glaze confessed to the crime multiple times and died of natural causes while serving his sentence.
"When the defendant dies, the case dies. It's over," he said.
But Julie Jonas, legal director for the Innocence Project of Minnesota, says some of the DNA from two of the crime scenes matches a different suspect. She says this case won't be over until until Glaze is exonerated.
"We believe it's the public's best interest that this case proceed because the man who's DNA was found at two of the crime scenes is still out on the streets. He's not in prison, he's not dead, " she said.