An editorial in today’s New York Times calls on courts and prosecutors to allow DNA testing in cases where it can prove innocence or guilt. Drawing from yesterday’s Times story on cases in which defendants – including some Innocence Project clients – struggle to obtain DNA testing, the editorial says testing this evidence is a right that shouldn’t be denied.
Prosecutors often say they oppose DNA testing because it is burdensome, but testing requests are not that common. In many cases, prosecutors seem to be motivated by a desire to avoid having their work second-guessed by objective science.
States should amend laws to make clear that inmates should have access to DNA testing, even to search databases for other suspects. And prosecutors should stop opposing any but the most frivolous DNA requests. Inmates have a right to conduct DNA tests that may help exonerate them. And the public has a strong interest in seeing that innocent people are not in prison — and that guilty people are not on the streets.
Read the full editorial here
. (New York Times, 05/19/09)