SELECTIVE TESTING OF DNA AND ITS IMPACT ON POST-CONVICTION REQUESTS FOR TESTING

Author: 

Jodena Carbone

The prisons are full of men and women who profess their innocence despite having been convicted on the weight of the evidence presented by the prosecution. Yet, each year many of those found guilty are exonerated after post-conviction testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (“DNA”) evidence proves that they are innocent. The Pennsylvania Innocence Project reports that 303 individuals have been exonerated through DNA testing, some posthumously. Studies conducted on the first 250 individuals exonerated have shown that in forty-five percent of the cases DNA testing helped to identify the actual assailant. Thus the question presents itself: if there exists even the slightest possibility that forensic testing could allow an innocent individual to be released from jail, why does the judicial system present such vigorous opposition to requests for post-conviction DNA testing, and why are there insurmountable threshold obstacles placed in the paths of those seeking such post- conviction relief?  Take, for example, the cases of William Virgil and Hank Skinner. View More