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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

FOI x DNA = justice squared

Now here's an FOI story to use anytime you run into any remaining sceptic about the importance of the law.

Roy Brown was in jail in New York for 15 years for a murder he didn't commit. He was released last Thursday, the latest of 192 prisoners released as result of DNA evidence that showed that someone else committed the crime.

According to the Innocence Project, Brown "armed only with a notebook, stamps and a copy of the state's Freedom of Information Law" identified the true perpetrator from a prison cell in Elmira New York. In 2003 he obtained under FOI laws details of all statements made to the Police in connection with the case, some of which had never been seen previously by him or his lawyer. Four of the newly discovered documents caused Brown to suspect the brother of a former boyfriend of the victim, and from there a chain of events led to DNA testing that proved Brown's innocence.

Several Australian universities are part of an Australian Innocence Network - do they or any others out there have Australian stories to match Brown's?

Thanks to the US FOI Advocate blog for the lead

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