Archive for Friday, June 19, 2009

High court: Convicts lack right to DNA tests

June 19, 2009


— The Supreme Court said Thursday that a convicted rapist has no constitutional right to test biological evidence used at his trial in Alaska years earlier, leaving it to the states to decide when prisoners get access to genetic evidence that might prove their innocence.

In a 5-4 vote, with the conservative justices in the majority, the court said it would not second-guess states or force them routinely to look again at criminal convictions.

William Osborne, convicted in a brutal assault on a prostitute in Alaska 16 years ago, sued for the right to test the contents of a blue condom the victim says was used by her attacker. A federal appeals court said he had a right to conduct the test.

Alaska is one of only three states without a law that gives convicts access to genetic evidence. The others are Massachusetts and Oklahoma.

Testing so far has led to the exoneration of 240 people who had been found guilty of murder, rape and other violent crimes, according to the Innocence Project, which works to free people who were wrongly convicted.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

Great news-- if this guy was innocent, the police never would have arrested him. What this country needs is more summary justice to protect our freedom.

dandelion 9 years ago

On NPR they were arguing that it would cost too much to do the DNA testing, so Alaska (with lots of oil money) would rather keep possibly innocent people in prison. And this guy apparently was willing to pay for it? I guess those 240 people are glad they don't live in Alaska. What are you afraid of Alaska? Admitting you were wrong?

sinverguenza 9 years ago

Not good at all.

I understand trying to curb frivolous waste of tax payer time and money, but if the convicted is paying for it?

And even then, why should only people who can financially afford to revisit DNA testing be allowed to challenge their convictions?

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