Innocent Project of Minnesota awarded $300,000 federal grant

STATEWIDE — The Innocence Project of Minnesota has received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that will fund the formation of Minnesota’s first Conviction Review Unit (CRU). The CRU, which will operate as a partnership between the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Innocence Project of Minnesota, will allow the state to review legal cases for people believed to be innocent. To date, CRUs have helped initiate the exoneration of 444 people in the U.S.

“We strive for perfection but know our system is imperfect,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison. This grant will allow us to create a unit to fearlessly review cases to make sure justice was served, and if not, to right those wrongs.”

The purpose of a CRU is to prevent, identify, and remedy wrongful convictions. Each case the CRU reviews will have a strong indication that the person imprisoned could be innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. Minnesota’s CRU will also help address the most frequently identified causes of wrongful convictions and, when possible, identify the person or people who actually committed the crime.

“Justice is served when the person who committed a crime is held accountable and the innocent are free—and that is what a CRU will do for Minnesota,” said Julie Jonas, legal director of the Innocence Project of Minnesota. “We look forward to engaging with jurisdictions across the state to correct wrongful convictions and continue our meaningful search for truth.”

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