Drake Law Graduate Plays Significant Role in Adoption of New Fire Investigations Policy
As a legislative intern with the Innocence Project of Iowa, Dawone Robinson LW’11 played a significant role in the adoption of a new policy related to fire investigations by the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division.
Under the guidance of Julie Smith, the Director of the Drake Law Legislative Practice Center, Robinson worked for the adoption of the new policy by the Iowa General Assembly. When this did not materialize, Robinson continued to pursue the Innocence Project’s goal and worked directly with the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division. Ultimately, the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division elected to voluntarily adopt a formal policy on the guidelines to be used in fire investigations due to Robinson’s continued efforts. This voluntary adoption was a more powerful result than the initial goal of a General Assembly resolution.
The new policy will reduce the possibility of wrongful convictions in arson prosecutions by requiring that investigators utilize up-to-date, scientifically based standards when investigating fires as well as report any convictions that are found to be based on invalidated forensic science or investigatory methodologies.