06.18.09

Comment On The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Decision On Post-Conviction DNA Testing

"I am disappointed that this narrow Supreme Court ruling denied access to post-conviction DNA testing for a defendant who wanted to prove his innocence.  We should make every effort to promote DNA testing in our criminal justice system -- whether before or after trial -- in order to help ensure that only the guilty are convicted, never the innocent, and that the guilty do not walk free to commit more crimes.  This decision only creates new procedural roadblocks and unnecessary hurdles to getting at the truth in this and many other cases.  As Justice Stevens wrote in dissent, 'The DNA test [the defendant] seeks is a simple one, its cost modest, and its results uniquely precise . . . . Yet [the state] refuses to allow [the defendant] to test the evidence at his own expense and to thereby ascertain the truth once and for all.'  To overcome this result, I will continue to work to make modern DNA testing available whenever possible to strengthen our criminal justice system."     

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