No exonerations in review of 14,000 Minnesota convictions

More than 14,000 criminal convictions in Minnesota from the 1980s through 1990s were reviewed to determine if DNA technology could exonerate any convicted felons. The results of that analysis were announced Wednesday morning in Minneapolis by Hennepin County Mike Freeman.

“No exonerations in over 14,000 cases reviewed,” Freeman said.

Freeman said two cases are still pending, including that of serial killer Billy Glaze, but said the process is a mere formality and expects the convictions will be upheld. Glaze died in prison last year.

In their case review, the project team identified 33 cases in which additional testing with modern DNA technology could provide evidence favorable to the convict. Of those 33 cases, 12 convicts declined further testing. Testing on 11 of the other 21 cases was inconclusive, and 8 confirmed the original conviction.

“We prosecutors are human. We make mistakes," Freeman said. "When we make mistakes, they can have dramatic impacts on people’s lives, so we know we must constantly review how we do our job.”

The case review was funded by a federal grant awarded to the Innocence Project of Minnesota, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and Office of Minnesota’s Board of Public Defense.