Prosecutors Fight DNA Testing

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

While district attorneys have embraced DNA testing to convict thousands of criminals, many of them have vigorously fought the use of genetic testing to allow prisoners to challenge their convictions. Forty-six states have passed laws to enable inmates to have DNA tests performed as part of their appeals, but in many cities and counties, prosecutors have argued in court that the testing should not be allowed in cases involving multiple defendants. Prosecutors often object to DNA testing because they believe convicts are merely delaying the inevitable and wasting valuable resources. The objections by DAs have caused appeals to be delayed for years, extending beyond the statue of limitations for other suspects to be tried for the crimes. 

Professor Brandon L. Garrett of the University of Virginia School of Law has determined that out of 225 cases he examined, prosecutors opposed DNA testing almost 20% of the time. In many other cases, they balked at testing, only to agree later to it. In approximately 40% of the 225 cases, DNA tests identified the guilty party.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Prosecutors Block Access to DNA Testing for Inmates (by Shaila Dewan, New York Times)


Leave a comment