UTAH (ABC4) – In Utah, 18 individuals have been exonerated after being falsely imprisoned. Wrongful convictions happen in almost every state. Organizations like Project Innocence are working to get better laws passed and educate the public on what they can do to help.
One law on this issue in Utah passed in 2019 allows judges to suppress eyewitness identification. Other companies such as the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center aim to get law enforcement to adhere to scientifically supported practices such as DNA testing rather than solely relying on eyewitness accounts.
Amended most recently is a law that allows any person convicted of a felony offense to petition the trial court for DNA testing at any time. The amendment will allow for defendants to make this request more easily.
As of 2021, Utah has passed a bill that will allow individuals who are found factually innocent after being sentenced to be paid in one lump payment. The individual is entitled to a sum of money depending on how much time they spent incarcerated and the average payroll wage in Utah.
David Rudolf, civil rights lawyer and author of “American Injustice” said “Truth should trump anything in the criminal justice system, and it doesn’t”.