In an era of DNA exonerations, where headlines scream of wrongful convictions and photos highlight vindicated inmates leaving prison, not as much is heard about the inmates who plead for DNA testing – and get it – knowing full well they're guilty, says the Kansas City Star. “We're obviously not going to put out a press release when we ask for DNA tests for somebody and it comes back nailing them,” said Rob Warden of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. “It's not news when the criminal justice system operates the way it's supposed to.”
In the last five years, The Innocence Project out of New York exonerated 43 percent of the inmates whose DNA it tested. Almost as many inmates – 42 percent – had their convictions confirmed. The tests couldn't exclude them. Still, few talk about the ones whose DNA can't be excluded and stay behind bars. Last month, prosecutors in Kansas and Texas each sent out news releases telling the public that DNA confirmed convictions.