Calvin Cunningham

May 2021 update: We are heartbroken to share that Calvin passed away on May 10, 2021. Calvin faced numerous challenges as he navigated the reentry process, and his ordeal highlights the toll that wrongful convictions have on real human lives. 

Calvin Wayne Cunningham was exonerated by DNA evidence almost three decades after a wrongful rape conviction. In 1981, Cunningham was convicted of rape and burglary with intent to commit rape in Newport News, Virginia.

In 2009, MAIP’s Virginia DNA Staff Attorney, John Hardenbergh, began working with Zach Beasley and Andrew Dulberg to prove Cunningham’s innocence. On April 12, 2011, the Virginia Supreme Court finally granted his petition for Writ of Actual Innocence.

Calvin’s exoneration reaffirms the importance of Virginia’s Old Case Testing Project. In 2006, MAIP worked with then-Governor Mark Warner to secure DNA testing in hundreds of cases from 1973 to 1988 with saved biological evidence. Calvin was the sixth exoneration since the start of the project.

Read more about this case:

National Registry of Exonerations

The Washington Post