Nonprofit #1, The Innocence Project , has had an enormous impact on the public perception of the fallibility of the criminal justice system by helping to free innocent prisoners and some death row inmates.
Ralph Armstrong served more than 28 years in Wisconsin prisons for murder before a judge overturned his conviction in 2009 based on evidence that a prosecutor had deliberately withheld evidence of his innocence more than a decade earlier. The Innocence Project became involved in Armstrong’s case in 1993, working with Wisconsin attorneys Jerome Buting and Keith Belzer. More advanced DNA testing was conducted in 2001, excluding Armstrong and the victim’s boyfriend as the source of the head hairs on the bathrobe belt, and finding that the semen stain used against Armstrong at trial was connected to the victim’s boyfriend. Based on these results, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2005, granting him a new trial.
While a new trial was pending, a woman testified at a hearing that she had called Dane County Assistant District Attorney John Norsetter in 1995 to report that Armstrong’s brother, Steve, confessed that he, not Ralph, was guilty of the crime, and that he feared Ralph would be exonerated by DNA and come after him if he found out Steve was the real guilty party. The woman said she described Steve’s gruesomely detailed confession to Norsetter, who did not report this evidence to defense attorneys and did not pursue the lead. Steve Armstrong had disappeared shortly after the crime and never again contacted his brother Ralph. Steve died in 2005.
(Learn more about them at: http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Ralph_Armstrong.php)
The Innocence Project, Inc. is cited by experts as one of the leading forces in the legal representation of wrongfully convicted individuals. The Innocence Project, Inc. has also employed effective advocacy programs to spread awareness about the fallibility of the criminal justice. Read the expert comments here to learn more about The Innocence Project.