Branstad: State will investigate wrongful convictions

Governor Branstad acknowledged that “in a system run by humans, mistakes can be made,” even with confidence in Iowa’s legal system. A unit is being established to review potential wrongful convictions and provide a legal remedy. Convicted felons have been able to appeal their conviction in court, but a new unit will provide additional resources. It is estimated that between 2 and 5 percent of inmates in the United States are innocent. The initial focus of the new unit will be cases between the 1980’s and 1990’s. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has noted that cases involving microscopic hair analysis during that time potentially had major errors. The major benefit of this program to the taxpayer is wrongfully convicted inmates cost the government $34,000 annually. They have received more than 2,750 requests already with 2 to 3 more cases being brought to them each week.

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