Texas Bill Would Improve Access to DNA Testing
With 42 exonerations, Texas has had more wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing that any other state.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted to strengthen prison inmates’ access to post-conviction DNA testing, reported the Austin Chronicle.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rodney Ellis requires post-conviction testing if biological evidence was never tested or if new techniques would give more accurate results.
It also requires any newly-discovered, unidentified DNA samples to be compared with federal and state DNA databases.
“Under current law, innocence is often being left to chance,” Ellis said in a press release. Strengthening Texas’ post-conviction DNA law is an essential measure to improve justice in Texas.”
Senate Bill 122 was among the measures recommended by the Tim Cole Advisory Panel to prevent future wrongful convictions like that of Cole, who died in prison before he could clear his name of a rape he did not commit.
Other recommendations from the Advisory Panel include reforms to improve eyewitness identification procedures and recording of interrogations.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
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