News 06.27.08

Friday news roundup

Below are the stories on criminal justice reform, wrongful convictions and forensic science that we didn’t get to on the blog this week:

Crime lab reform, investigations and funding were in the news this week. The

Houston Police Department Crime Lab resumed DNA testing

after a six month suspension due to discovery of misconduct. A new Michigan State Police budget set aside

$1 million for crime labs

to ease backlogs across the state, outsourcing to private labs has helped Florida’s state lab

cut its backlog in half since 2005

, and a Wisconsin state lab has added two dozen analysts and tripled its space to decrease backlogs.

The U.S. Supreme Court had a busy week on criminal justice issues, issuing a decision in

Kennedy v. Louisiana

overturning state laws that allow the death penalty for child rape, and in

Indiana V. Edwards

, in which the justices decided 7-2 that mentally ill inmates can be denied the right to represent themselves at trial.

An Indiana judge

denied DNA testing access to Roosevelt Glenn

, who has been in prison for nearly two decades for a rape he says he didn’t commit. Glenn is represented by the attorneys at the Indiana University School of Law’s wrongful conviction clinic.

South Carolina legislators

approved a bill to allow prisoners claiming innocence to seek DNA testing through the courts

. The bill will now go to the governor – who could sign it into law or veto it. If the bill becomes a law, South Carolina will be the 44th state with a DNA access statute.

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