DNA testing proves Washington man’s innocence


A man who had been charged with committing a February rape was cleared last week by DNA testing of biological material from the crime scene. Police dropped charges against the man and said they are continuing to investigate the crime.

This case is another example of pre-trial DNA testing helping police conduct fair investigations and avoid prosecuting innocent people. Still, in too many cases, a guilty plea is given or a trial is held without testing being conducted on key evidence.

James Ochoa

, of California, is an example. He pled guilty in 2005 to a carjacking he didn’t commit. After he had served one year in California prison, DNA testing on appeal cleared him of the crime.

In more than 25% of cases in a 1995 National Institute of Justice study of 10,060 cases, suspects were excluded once DNA testing was conducted during the criminal investigation.

An editorial today in Olympia, Washington, considers what might have happened without DNA testing in this case.

Thank goodness for DNA testing, otherwise an Olympia man may well have been convicted of a crime he didn’t commit…

There was a time not too long ago when police and prosecutors would have built their case against Lynch based on circumstantial evidence and analysis of physical evidence. Lynch’s fragile mental state might have helped the state get a conviction against him, and he would have lingered in jail for months before the trial.

Read the full editorial here

. (03/01/07, The Olympian)

Read previous news on this case

. (The Olympian, 02/21/07)

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