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Innocence Project suggests revisiting past cases in light of DOJ report

KIP is now encouraging local leaders to revisit LMPD's past to potentially bring justice to those wrongfully convicted.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In light of last week's Department of Justice report into Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), some in the city say it could be revealing a much larger problem— including the Kentucky Innocence Project (KIP).

KIP is now encouraging local leaders to revisit LMPD's past to potentially bring justice to those wrongfully impacted.

KIP attorney Suzanne Hopf believes after the scathing DOJ report points, not only to future fixes, but also having Louisville reconcile with the past.

"Yes, in fact, we're absolutely sure there are people who have been wrongfully convicted that are still in prison," Hopf said.

Hopf said part of making amends is determining past police practices that may have been used to obtain false confessions and looking into past investigations that potentially did not meet constitutional standards. 

"There's a whole variety of reasons why people are wrongfully convicted," Hopf said. "But more often than not, we see that either police misconduct or very poor practices by the police have been at least one of the major factors." 

Louisville mother-of-two Johnetta Carr says she knows the toll a wrongful conviction can have on a person.

At the age of 16, Carr would spend the next four years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She said she was framed for murdering her boyfriend.  

Carr became one of 23 people in Kentucky exonerated due to wrongful convictions, largely over the last two decades. 

In 2020, Carr and her attorney announced they had filed a lawsuit against the city and LMPD. 

"Everything was going through my mind, I literally felt every single feeling that she could feeling that was my happy feeling," Carr said. "I was just really confused. I was shocked. It was like a worst nightmare. Like every day was a nightmare." 

Carr said she had to relive that nightmare as U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland delivered a scathing DOJ report on misconduct within LMPD -- among the findings -- officers would frequently bring warrants to specific judges who were more likely to approve them.

Carr and the Innocence Project believe the DOJ report was a step in the right direction but there's much more work to be done.

WHAS11 reached out to the office of Mayor Craig Greenberg for this report. His office said it is working to address many of the concerns raised by this recent DOJ report.

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