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Pennsylvania Innocence Project to Launch “Act 4 Innocence in Pennsylvania” Campaign

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The Pennsylvania Innocence Project will soon launch a comprehensive public education campaign to support innocence legislation and policies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The Act 4 Innocence in Pennsylvania Campaign has two main parts:

    • — encouraging people to raise awareness about wrongful convictions and support initiatives that will strengthen our justice system such as eyewitness identification procedure updates, recording interrogations, and increased oversight for incentivized witnesses; and
    •  — a resource site to support Pennsylvania SB 1153 which would provide innocent inmates a fair shot at proving their innocence in court.

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project will provide ongoing updates for both initiatives through Facebook and Twitter.

Act 4 Innocence:

On this site are all the tools you will need to join our efforts to raise awareness about wrongful convictions in Pennsylvania.  Our goal is to encourage law enforcement to adopt best practices which will prevent wrongful convictions.  The updates supported by The Pennsylvania Innocence Project include:

    • Eyewitness Identification Procedures Based on 30 Years of Scientific Testing
    • Recording of Suspect Interrogations
    • Regulations for Incentivized Witnesses
    • Revisions to Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction DNA Testing Statute

The Act 4 Innocence in Pennsylvania Campaign will help raise awareness across the Commonwealth through the media, community meetings, social networking, and speaking with legislators, on the need for criminal justice updates and policy shifts.

No Bar 4 Innocence:

Our companion site supports Senate Bill 1153, pending in Harrisburg.  Under current Pennsylvania law, an inmate who uncovers evidence of his innocence must present that evidence to a court within 60 days of discovering it or else will be forever “time-barred.”  No matter how compelling the evidence that the inmate is actually innocent, if the petition is even a day late, a court will not hear it. Period.

Among the strictest laws in the country, the deadline is unnecessary and unduly harsh for the convicted innocent.  Developing reliable evidence of innocence sufficient to challenge a conviction takes months, even years.  SB 1153 would give the convicted innocent a fair shot by extending the deadline to one year, and eliminating it where the petitioner can demonstrate s/he is “actually innocent” of the charges.  As sponsor Senator Stewart Greenleaf has said:

Eliminating the 60-day rule is the only fair thing to do.  When there’s a claim of actual innocence accompanied by some credible evidence, there shouldn’t be any time limit. I don’t see how anyone can argue about that.

No Bar 4 Innocence is a way for the public to get involved and encourage Pennsylvania legislators to approve SB 1153.   Because innocence should never be time-barred.

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