The Osborne Case: Amicus Brief from People Exonerated with Post-Conviction DNA Testing


People Exonerated with Post-Conviction DNA Testing

This brief was filed by several of the 232 people nationwide who have been exonerated with post-conviction DNA testing. The brief says they are “uniquely positioned” to help the Supreme Court understand the significance of its decision in this case. The brief – signed by people who falsely confessed to crimes, were misidentified by victims/witnesses or were implicated by unvalidated or improper forensic science, only to later be proven innocent through DNA testing – argues that even when guilt appears overwhelming, access to DNA testing can prove innocence. The brief also says the Supreme Court should recognize that people have a constitutional right not to be incarcerated or executed if they are actually innocent – an issue that the court has never resolved. (Paul A. Engelmayer at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr is counsel of record on the brief.)

Following are people exonerated through DNA testing who signed the brief:

Kirk Bloodsworth, the first person in the country exonerated from death row with DNA testing, after serving nearly nine years on a wrongful conviction for rape and murder in Maryland; Kennedy Brewer, who was exonerated in 2008 after 15 years of incarceration – and a full seven years after DNA testing proved his innocence in the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter in Mississippi; Roy Brown, who was sentenced to 25 years to life for murder in New York and served 15 years before he was exonerated through DNA testing in January 2007; Jeffrey Deskovic, who was 16 years old when he falsely confessed to murdering a high school classmate in Westchester County, New York, and served 17 years in prison before a District Attorney consented to advanced DNA testing and he was finally exonerated; Dennis Fritz, who served 11 years in prison in Oklahoma for a rape and murder that DNA eventually proved he didn’t commit; Bruce Godschalk, who secured DNA testing through a federal lawsuit after the District Attorney and state courts denied his request; he was exonerated in two rape cases after serving 15 years in prison; Kevin Green, who was convicted of second-degree murder and attempted murder after the severe beating of his wife resulted in the stillbirth of their unborn child in California.  After 17 years in prison, Green was exonerated when state investigators running semen samples from unsolved cases against a new state DNA database matched several crimes to a convicted rapist, who then confessed to the attack on Green’s wife.

Ray Krone, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in part because of testimony that his teeth matched bite marks on the victim. He served 10 years in Arizona prison – three of them on death row – before DNA testing proved his innocence; Christopher Ochoa, who falsely confessed to a Texas murder in order to avoid the death penalty and was finally exonerated after 12 years in prison; and Anthony Robinson, who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and whose pleas for DNA testing were denied for years before a District Attorney consented and the results proved his innocence.

Download the full brief

. (PDF)


Other Amicus Briefs in the Case:

Current and Former Prosecutors


Crime Victims and Victim's Families

Civil Liberties and Legal Rights Organizations

People Who Received Clemency Through Post-Conviction DNA Testing


More Legal Resources and Press Releases in the case



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