News 10.29.08

DA: Review of 3,242 Colorado Cases Turns Up No Questionable Convictions

After DNA testing and other evidence led to the release on Tim Masters in Colorado earlier this year, Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson said his office would review thousands of convictions to see if any current inmates were candidates for post-conviction DNA testing. Prosecutors started with a universe of 3,242 cases in which defendants are currently in prison and were convicted by a jury in the county. They narrowed that list to 36 cases where identity may have been a factor, and determined that none of the case warranted testing.

"After a lengthy evaluation, I am satisfied that there are no defendants convicted in the Eighth Judicial District serving time in the Colorado State Penitentiary who would benefit from current advances in DNA technology," Abrahamson wrote in a press release.

Read the full press release here


In the press release, Abrahamson lists criteria for excluding cases. First of all, people who pled guilty were excluded, despite the fact that 11 defendants of the 223 cleared by DNA testing so far nationwide pled guilty. At least 12 cases were excluded because eyewitness testimony was used to convict the defendant. Two others were excluded because fibers and blood testing were used in the trial. DNA testing has shown that eyewitness identification is often unreliable, and that some forms of forensic science – such as fiber comparison – are limited in their ability to identify a defendant.

Abrahamson notes in his press release that the review does not preclude defendants from appealing for DNA testing in their cases.

Read more about the causes of wrongful conviction here


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