DNA Testing for Prisoners
This should be a no-brainer, but the Supreme Court will be deciding this question later this year: Do prisoners have the right to undergo DNA testing to prove their innocence?
Forty-four states already have laws allowing convicts to test DNA evidence. The Supreme Court case involves a rapist, William Osborne, who was convicted sixteen years ago in Alaska. A federal appeals court ruled in Osborne’s favor — the condom that he used during the rape can be tested for evidence. This would prove his guilt or innocence.
Prosecutors have appealed Osborne’s case to the Supreme Court. These prosecutors must be guilty of something. What are they hiding?
Supreme Court justices were mostly skeptical during a hearing today. And the Obama Administration has sided up with prosecutors in this case. WTF???
William Osborne is being represented by Peter Neufeld, co-founder of The Innocence Project. This group works to free prisoners who were wrongly convicted. Neufeld said: “All they're getting is a darn test. If it shows they committed the crime, they get nothing.”
Osborne admitted his guilt during a parole hearing in 2004. But Justice John Paul Stevens pointed out that some prisoners have been exonerated for crimes they had previously confessed to.
I’m all in favor of harsh penalties for violent crimes. But this has to go hand in hand with taking every possible precaution against jailing an innocent person. We’ve all seen enough screaming headlines about “convicted” rapists and murderers being freed — sometimes twenty or thirty years later — after a DNA test proved their innocence.
If an arresting officer or prosecuting attorney doesn’t want to allow DNA testing, there’s only one possible explanation: They’re covering something up. They planted incriminating evidence, they withheld evidence that would have exonerated the defendant — they’re guilty of something.
cross-posted at Bring It On!