The case of Innocence Project client William Osborne will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in less than two weeks. Justices will hear arguments March 2 from Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld and an attorney for the State of Alaska on the constitutional right to DNA testing that can prove their innocence.
Osborne is seeking DNA testing on evidence from a rape he was convicted of 1993. The state concedes that the evidence could prove innocence and the Innocence Project would pay for DNA testing, but prosecutors have refused to grant access to testing.
Neufeld told McClatchy Newspapers that the resistance from prosecutors in Osborne’s case is rare.
"We're not talking about vacating a conviction or a retrial or anything like that. We're just talking about a test. What's the big deal? Why can't you give them the test?" Neufeld said.
DNA is different than any other type of evidence – eye witnesses and recantations and even fingerprints, he said. "DNA is this truth machine."
…."Most prosecutors want to do justice and they want to get to the truth," Even if they believe deep down that a defendant is guilty, many also reason, "Fine, I'll give them the test. What's the downside? It's just a test – it's not letting them out of prison."
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. (Juneau Empire, 2/17/09)