Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence

 

GOAL: To fund projects that assist States and units of local government with postconviction DNA testing in cases of violent felony offenses where actual innocence might be demonstrated. OBJECTIVE: To support the review of eligible postconviction cases, the location of evidence, and DNA testing of biological evidence associated with these cases.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
16.820
Federal Agency/Office
Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2017 As of June 2018, grantees have reported over 96,000 cases reviewed, over 3,500 pieces of evidence analyzed, and 47 exonerations over the history of the program. In FY 2017, 8 applications were received and 6 applications were funded. In FY 2018, 11 applications were received and 9 are anticipated to be funded. In FY 2019, it is anticipated that approximately 12 applications will be received, and 9 are likely to be funded.
Fiscal Year 2018 In FY 2018, 11 applications were received and 9 applications were funded.
Fiscal Year 2019 As of January 2019, grantees have reported over 109,000 cases reviewed, over 4,000 pieces of evidence analyzed, and 52 exonerations over the history of the program.
Authorization
An act appropriating funds for the Department of Justice in the current fiscal year.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Eligible applicants are States, units of local government, and public institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education). For the purposes of agency program announcements, the term "State" includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Ensures the availability of fair and impartial administration of justice to Americans who may have been unjustly convicted.
Credentials/Documentation
If an award is made, prior to receiving award funds an applicant must submit an express certification from the chief legal officer of the State (typically the Attorney General) that the State: i. Provides postconviction DNA testing of specified biological evidence under a State statute, or under State rules, regulations, or practices, to persons convicted after trial and under a sentence of imprisonment or death for a State offense of murder or forcible rape, in a manner intended to ensure a reasonable process for resolving claims of actual innocence. ii. Preserves biological evidence secured in relation to the investigation or prosecution of a State offense of murder or forcible rape, under a State statute, local ordinances, or State or local rules, regulations, or practices, in a manner intended to ensure that reasonable measures are taken by all jurisdictions within the State to preserve such evidence. Any certification that is submitted must be personally executed by the chief legal officer of the State after a determination that the certification may properly be made. While it may be submitted with the application package, submission of this certification is not required at the time of application. If an award is made, access to award funds will be withheld until this certification is received and approved by NIJ. Applicants proposing postconviction DNA testing projects involving cases outside of the applicant's State are to provide (prior to receiving award funds) the express certification described above executed by the chief legal officer of the appropriate State for each State for which postconviction cases are sought to be funded in response to the program announcement.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact assessment is required for this listing. Note: An environmental impact assessment is not required at the time of application (or pre application), but is necessary for removing a withholding of funds special condition after an award is made.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. See the current fiscal year's solicitation available at www.nij.gov.
Award Procedure
NIJ may use external peer reviewers, internal peer reviewers (DOJ employees), or a combination, to assess applications meeting basic minimum requirements on technical merit using the solicitation's selection criteria. Peer reviewers' ratings and any resulting recommendations are advisory only, although their views are considered carefully. Absent explicit statutory authorization or written delegation of authority to the contrary, all final award decisions will be made by the Assistant Attorney General (Office of Justice Programs), who may consider factors including, but not limited to, underserved populations, geographic diversity, strategic priorities, past performance under prior NIJ and OJP awards, and available funding when making awards.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 60 to 180 days.
Appeals
There are no appeal rights for rejection of a discretionary application, but for discretionary awards, see 28 CFR Part 18.
Renewals
A request to change the project end date for an award may be submitted by the recipient by at least 30 days prior to the end date for the period of performance under the award, or by the awarding agency grant manager. Requests for extensions are not automatically granted. A one-time extension for no more than 12 months past the original end date (with sufficient accompanying justification) is typically granted. A request to extend the project period for more than 12 months requires additional justification of the circumstances.
How are proposals selected?
Criteria are described in the OJP Program Announcement available at http://www.ojp.gov/funding/solicitations.htm.
How may assistance be used?
Funds may be used to acquire laboratory supplies for DNA analysis of biological evidence; pay overtime for people directly engaged in case review, location of evidence, or DNA analysis of biological evidence; to hire consultants and/or temporary contract staff to conduct case reviews, locate evidence, or conduct DNA analysis of biological evidence; for contracts with accredited fee-for-service vendors to conduct DNA analysis of biological evidence; to upgrade, replace, lease, or purchase computer hardware or software that will be used exclusively for case review, location of evidence, or DNA analysis of biological evidence; for salaries and benefits of additional full- or part-time employees to the extent such employees are directly engaged in case review, location of evidence, or DNA analysis of biological evidence; and, in limited cases, for “case identification” activities.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Performance Reports: See the current fiscal year’s solicitation available at www.nij.gov, and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, available at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm. To assist in fulfilling the Departments responsibilities under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), Public Law 103-62, and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, Public Law 111–352, recipients must provide data that measures the results of their work.
Auditing
See 2 CFR Part 200 for the audit requirements
Records
See 2 CFR Part 200 for the government-wide requirements for maintenance of records by grant recipients.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Awards under this program typically are for project periods of up to 24 months. See the current fiscal year’s solicitation available at www.nij.gov and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, available at www.ojp.gov.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Gregory Dutton
Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
National Institute of Justice
810 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20531 US
postconvictionDNA@usdoj.gov
Phone: (202) 307-2942
Website Address
http://www.nij.gov
Financial Information
Account Identification
15-0404-0-1-754
Obligations
(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 18$5,469,201.00; FY 19 est $6,000,000.00; FY 20 est $6,000,000.00; FY 17$3,333,287.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
See the current fiscal year's solicitation guidelines posted on the Office of Justice Programs web site at https://ojp.gov/funding/Explore/CurrentFundingOpportunities.htm.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
See 2 CFR Part 200, 2 CFR Part 2800, the current fiscal year's solicitation at www.nij.gov, and the DOJ Grants Financial Guide at http://ojp.gov/financialguide/DOJ/index.htm..
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2017 See NIJ awards from past fiscal years at www.nij.gov/funding/awards.
Fiscal Year 2018 See awards from past fiscal years at www.nij.gov/funding/awards.

 


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