Postconviction DNA Testing Program

This program offers assistance to States to help defray the costs associated with postconviction DNA testing of cases of violent felony offenses where actual innocence might be demonstrated.

Specifically, funding may be used to review postconviction cases of violent felony offenses (as defined
by State law), and to locate and analyze biological evidence samples associated with these cases.

Where a strong justification is provided, a small percentage of Federal award funds (not to exceed 15 percent) may be used for permissible case identification activities.

For the purposes of this program - • Case identification means performing outreach and/or initial screening activities, other than "case review" as defined below, designed to identify postconviction cases of violent felony offenses (as defined by State law) where DNA analysis might demonstrate actual innocence.

Permissible outreach and initial screening mechanisms are face-to-face meetings, closed-circuit television meetings, eligibility letters/questionnaires/applications, telephone calls, and computerized searches of state court records.

• Case review means review of files or documentation of postconviction cases of violent felony offenses (as defined by State law) by appropriate persons (e.g., prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement personnel, and medical examiners) to determine whether biological evidence exists that might, through DNA analysis, demonstrate the actual innocence of the person previously convicted.

• Locate evidence means seeking to locate, following a case review, biological evidence that, through DNA analysis, might demonstrate actual innocence, through activities such as the searching of files, storage facilities, and evidence rooms.

• DNA analysis of biological evidence includes the handling, screening, and DNA analysis of biological evidence located in connection with a case review.

States receiving Postconviction DNA Testing Assistance funds are expected to--1.

Review appropriate postconviction cases to identify those in which DNA testing could prove the actual innocence of a person convicted of a violent felony offense(s) as defined by State law.

2.

Locate biological evidence associated with such postconviction cases.

3.

Perform DNA analysis of appropriate biological evidence.

Agency - Department of Justice

The Department of Justice enforces the law and defends the interest of the United States, ensuring public safety against threats foreign and domestic; providing Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful pursuits; and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Website Address

http://www.nij.gov



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

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.

Funds may not be used for salaries and benefits for victim advocacy services; laboratory equipment; construction; renovation; and outreach and initial screening activities not included in "case identification.".

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Not applicable.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Not applicable.

Credentials/Documentation

To be eligible for an award, a State must submit an express certification from the chief legal officer of the State (typically the Attorney General) that the State-1. 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. 2. 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. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

A State must submit a specific certification personally executed by its chief legal officer (typically the Attorney General) regarding the provision of postconviction DNA testing and preservation of biological evidence.

To establish eligibility, the certification must be received by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) no later than the application deadline as an attachment to the application.

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. Applicants must submit completed applications via the Grants.gov following established procedures. The application must include: Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424); Program Abstract; Program narrative; Budget Detail and Narrative; and Certification as to Provision of Postconviction DNA Testing and Preservation of Biological Evidence. The receipt, review, and analysis of applications will follow Office of Justice Programs policies and procedures for the administration of grant applications.

Award Procedures

Grants are awarded by the Institute Director based on the recommendations of criminal justice experts from outside reviewers and Institute staff. Successful applicants are notified via the Grants Management System. One copy of the grant award must be signed by the authorized official and returned to the Office of Justice Programs.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2012, Public Law 112-55.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

If the entity is a successful applicant and the project is selected for funding, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will notify the applicant of the award no later than September 30 of the calendar year via the Office of Justice Programs Grants Management System. If unsuccessful, NIJ will issue a rejection letter by December 30 of the calendar year.

Appeals

Hearings by the Director.

Renewals

The request to change the end date may be submitted by the recipient within 30 calendar days before the project period end date or at any time by the grant manager. Extensions for no more than 12 months past the original end date are typically granted. A request to extend the project period for more than 12 months requires justification of extraordinary circumstances.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements.
This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants under this program are limited to a maximum period of 24 months after the start of the award. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/release: Office of Justice Programs Financial Guide 2011 (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/financialguide/index.htm) and Post Award Instructions (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/pdfs/post_award_instructions.pdf).

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Recipients are required to submit semi-annual and final Progress Report(s).

Recipients are required to submit quarterly Financial Reports.

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.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. These audits are due to the cognizant federal agency not later than 9 months after the end of the grantee s fiscal year. Payments and transactions are subject to audits by the Government Accountability Office, Department of Justice s Office of the Inspector General, state or local government auditors, and auditors from independent public accounting firms. Jurisdictions must follow their local policies and procedures, including maintenance of reliable and accurate accounting systems, record keeping, and systems of internal control.

Records

Recipients of federal funds are expected to retain documentation supporting all program transactions for at least 3 years after the closure of audit reports related to such funding. If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action involving records has been started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all related issues, or until the end of the regular 3-year period, whichever is later.

Financial Information

Account Identification

15-0404-0-1-754.

Obigations

(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 12 $4,000,000; FY 13 est $3,720,000; and FY 14 est $0

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Approximately $3.5 million may become available for up to 10 awards. All awards are subject to the availability of appropriated funds and to any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by law.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Office of Justice Programs Financial Guide 2011 (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/financialguide/index.htm ) and Post award Instructions (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/pdfs/post_award_instructions.pdf), applicable OMB Circulars, and Department of Justice regulations applicable to specific types of grantees, which can be found in title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R.).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Michael Dillon United States Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
National Institute of Justice
810 7th Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20531 Email: Michael.Dillon3@usdoj.gov Phone: 202-514-5528

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Criteria are described in the OJP Program Announcement available at http://www.ojp.gov/funding/solicitations.htm.



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