Despite New DNA Evidence, Some Prosecutors Cling to Convictions


The New York Times reports on the resistance mounted by a minority of prosecutors around the country in the face of exculpatory DNA evidence in criminal prosecutions. For most prosecutors, the presence of post-conviction DNA evidence is enough to prompt action. An examination of 194 DNA exonerations found that 88 percent of the prosecutors joined defense lawyers in moving to vacate the convictions. But in 12 percent of the cases, the prosecutors opposed the motions, and in 4 percent, they did so even after a DNA match to another suspect.

Hundreds of people in the United States have been cleared by DNA evidence over the last two decades, in some cases after confessing to crimes, often in great detail. Juveniles, researchers have found, are more likely to make false confessions. Four of the five teenagers who were convicted in the brutal 1989 rape of Trisha Meili, known as the Central Park jogger, for example, confessed to the rape but were later exonerated when DNA evidence confirmed another man's involvement.

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