Virginia lawmakers approve measure to tell prisoners about old evidence


A budget amendment awaiting the signature of Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine would require the Virginia Forensic Science Board to alert prisoners when biological evidence is found in their old lab files. The measure, already approved by lawmakers, was introduced by Virginia State Crime Commission Chairman David Albo.

In January, (Virginia Forensic Science Board) members expressed concern about the burden on state agencies searching for the felons, many presumably released from prison.

As a result, it is largely up to authorities to determine whether DNA testing is warranted and to interpret whether the results have any bearing on innocence — even though qualified felons have a right to petition the court for testing.

Some advocates and experts are concerned that for the most part, only authorities are being told the evidence exists and not those who potentially have the most at stake.

Read the full story here

. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 03/25/08)

In January, two newspaper editorial boards joined the call to support notification of prisoners when evidence was found.

Read those editorials here


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