2015 Innocence Network Lifetime Achievement Award - Edward Blake

Dr. Edward T. Blake’s pioneering work in the development of forensic science and modern DNA forensic analysis have helped form the basis of and the inspiration for the innocence movement as we know it today. 

In the late 80’s and early 90’s Ed was the only person in the world applying new PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction] DNA technology to criminal investigations, now the central tool employed in all modern biological, biomedical, and genetics investigations. Ed has applied PCR based DNA typing technology to the analysis of biological evidence in criminal investigations for over 25 years, directly resulting in the exoneration of over 50 individuals, including some of the most influential cases in the United States and Canada. Ed conducted the PCR based DNA analysis that resulted in the exoneration of Gary Dotson in Illinois, the first post conviction exoneration anywhere in the world triggered by DNA typing analysis, as well as Kirk Bloodsworth, the first individual exonerated from death row.

Ed’s groundbreaking discoveries concerning the analysis of biological evidence in criminal investigations have led to a broader understanding of the problem of wrongful convictions, have shed light on the need for better preservation of biological evidence, and have contributed to the exonerations of countless innocent people.