15 States Don’t Allow Innocence DNA Tests For Ex-Inmates


Ohio convicts lose their chance for a DNA test when they are released from prison, whether they leave on parole or in a hearse, says the Columbus Dispatch. Ohio is among 15 states that require a person to be alive and in prison to qualify. Had that restriction been in place nationally, it would have prevented clearing the names of at least 22 men wrongly convicted of rape or murder. If Ohio allowed for expanded DNA testing, the number of exonerations “would be higher, there’s just no question,” said Stephen Saloom of the Innocence Project of New York. “You’ve got to ask: Who benefits from refusing to learn whether or not an innocent person was convicted of a serious crime? Nobody benefits — except the real perpetrator. Everyone else loses.”

Fairfield County prosecutor Gregg Marx doesn’t buy it. He opposed testing for a paroled rapist there, out of confidence in and respect for the jury, the appeals court, and the victim. “We think it would be devastating to victims everywhere, not just this victim,” Marx said. “What will happen if we’re allowed to continually attack verdicts years later?” The 22 people exonerated elsewhere who were already out of prison had in all service more than 370 years behind bars, plus years on parole, for crimes they didn’t commit. Example: Texas cleared James Curtis Giles in June with DNA tests that proved his innocence — and identified the actual rapist — 15 years after Giles was released on parole.

Link: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/01/28/dna2.html?sid=101

Comments are closed.