Sentencing/Post Conviction

In 15 States, DNA Innocence Claims Die With Prisoner or When Inmate Released

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Ohio remains one of 15 states in which the convicted lose their option for DNA testing once they get out of prison or die.

In a lengthy feature about innocence claims, the Columbus Dispatch reports that state law requires a person to be alive and in person to qualify for testing. The paper notes that if that restriction was the norm nationally, it would have prevented clearing the names of at least 22 men wrongly convicted of rape and murder.

If expanded DNA testing were allowed in Ohio, exonerations “would be higher, there’s just no question,” Stephen Saloom, policy director of the Innocence Project of New York, is quoted saying. “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.”

But Fairfield County Assistant Prosecutor Gregg Marx isn’t swayed. He’s opposed DNA testing out of confidence 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 told the Disptach. “What will happen if we’re allowed to continually attack verdicts years later?”

Hat tip, Criminal Justice Journalists.

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