The Osborne Case: Amicus Brief from Civil Liberties and Legal Rights Organizations


Civil Liberties and Legal Rights Organizations

Three leading organizations in civil liberties and legal rights filed a brief underscoring the legal principles at stake in this case. The brief argues that under the Constitution’s protection of individual liberty, a state cannot continue to detain someone who conclusively proves through a DNA test that he is innocent of the crime that is the basis for his incarceration. When a person conclusively establishes his innocence through a DNA test, there is no possible legitimate state interest in continuing to detain him, the brief says. The continued imprisonment violates Due Process under any potentially applicable standard. The organizations argue that Due Process also guarantees access to the DNA evidence necessary to establish an actual innocence claim. The same fairness and truth-seeking principles that require pre-trial disclosure of exculpatory evidence also require the government to honor a specific post-trial request for DNA evidence that has the potential to establish actual innocence. (Walter Dellinger and Irving L. Gornstein at the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers are counsel of record on the brief.)

Following are organizations that signed the brief:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nationwide, nonprofit, non-partisan organization with more than 500,000 members dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution; The Rutherford Institute, an international civil liberties and human rights organization headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia that specializes in providing legal representation without charge to individuals whose civil liberties are threatened or violated; and The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), a non-profit organization that is the only professional bar association that represents public and private criminal defense lawyers at the national level.

Download the full brief here

. (PDF)

Other Amicus Briefs in the Case:

Current and Former Prosecutors


Crime Victims and Victim's Families

People Exonerated with Post-Conviction DNA Testing

People Who Received Clemency Through Post-Conviction DNA Testing


More Legal Resources and Press Releases in the case




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