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The New York-based Innocence Project, which as of this week has helped exonerate 200 wrongfully-convicted people based on DNA evidence since 1989, is launching an effort to create more state commissions to help identify reasons for such faulty convictions and to change state laws to avoid such miscarriages of justice. There are six states that currently have such commissions, including Illinois, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and seven that are considering legislation to create them, the project said in a release. The commissions typically include law enforcement officials, prosecutors, victims’ advocates and defense attorneys, among others. The project, which is affiliated with the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York, said there are patterns among the 200 exonerations that point to common justice system problems. For instance, eyewitness identifications played a role in 77 percent of the convictions that were overturned after analyzing the DNA evidence and forensic errors often played a significant role as well. Some states have changed laws to improve accuracy, the project said. Law professors Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck co-founded the project in 1992 and are currently its co-directors of the Cardozo School of Law.

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