The Alaska Innocence Project’s (AKIP) mission is to correct errors made by the justice system that lead to wrongful convictions, as well as prevent future wrongful convictions. Such wrongful convictions cut across economic and social lines, engaging individuals from many groups, including family, community and the whole of the legal system. The work is important to all stakeholders in the criminal justice system equally, as all wish the criminal justice system to convict only the guilty and free the wrongfully convicted. Funding sought here will apply this sentiment to all of these groups by identifying and reviewing convictions identified as being based on the legal theory of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) charges, by applying the most up to date evidence-based analysis of the cases. This will include reviewing cases of individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford to have their convictions looked into. Preventing future wrongful convictions will entail organizing forums and lectures which address the controversy in the SBS field and provide experts in the field to educate both the legal community and the community as a whole on wrongful convictions, especially in the SBS area. Equitable access to social justice and information in the SBS field will be the goal.
Identifying and investigating cases of wrongful conviction, especially those involving medical and scientific issues, is a long and expensive process. AKIP seeks $20,000.00 to support the cost of contact and document collection from defense counsel who refer cases to AKIP, employment of investigators to assist in collection of evidence, including interviews of witnesses, and retention of scientific and medical experts to help evaluate the evidence-based approach to cases to determine if a wrongful conviction has likely occurred. If this work ultimately leads to just a single exoneration, ripples of change within the justice system can occur.