News 04.21.08

Mississippi man still seeking DNA testing

Steve Fasano, a former Jackson, Mississippi, police officer, has served two years in federal prison for a 2005 bank robbery he says he didn’t commit. He’s seeking DNA testing on evidence from the crime scene that could prove the identity of the real perpetrator, but prosecutors have argued against allowing testing and a federal judge said he’s leaning against ordering the tests because he isn’t convinced that the DNA would prove innocence. The evidence Fasano is seeking to test includes a hat, shirt and sunglasses worn by the bank robber in the commission of the crime.

"We have done everything under the sun and still can't get it," Fasano said in a telephone interview from a federal prison medical center in Rochester, Minn. "What's the big secret? Why won't they give it to us?"

Fasano was convicted of a federal crime, and a federal law that passed in 2004 allows prisoners to seek post-conviction DNA testing in federal cases. Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld, who helped craft the 2004 federal law, says Fasano should get DNA testing.

[Neufeld] said "it's a mean-spirited position to deny DNA testing to inmates asserting a claim of innocence because it's unconscionable any law enforcement person would want to keep somebody innocent in prison. I'm not saying he (Fasano) is innocent, but he's certainly entitled to have a test to provide compelling evidence of innocence."


Read the full story here

. (Clarion-Ledger, 04/21/08)

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