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Southwestern Michigan Innocence Project gets federal grant

A federal grant is helping to boost the efforts of a southwestern Michigan legal clinic that works to exonerate people convicted of serious crimes.

Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School announced Monday that their Innocence Project has received a $418,000 Justice Department grant.

The money will help pay for case review, evidence location and DNA testing, as well as investigators, experts and a full-time attorney.

Officials say in a news release the schools' Innocence Project is investigating several dozen cases.

It recently received roughly 200 more from a similar project in New York that's no longer handling Michigan cases.

The Michigan clinic has screened about 5,300 cases and exonerated three men who spent years in prison.

The schools formally affiliated last year.

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