At a hearing today in South Carolina, lawmakers are considering making their state the 45th in the country to allow prisoners access to DNA testing that can prove innocence. An editorial in The State today says it is time for legislators to take action on this important bill.
When an innocent person goes to prison, a guilty person roams our streets, free to victimize again.
That is the practical reason we need to do all we reasonably can to make sure that the innocent aren’t convicted and that, if they are, those convictions are reversed and an investigation re-opened. The moral reason, of course, is that it’s wrong to imprison the innocent.
We will never get those initial convictions correct 100 percent of the time, but there is a way we can improve our chance of identifying and correcting the errors. Our Legislature will have the opportunity to put it into place today.
A bill awaiting final approval by the House and Senate would add our state to the 44 others that allow people convicted of murder, rape and a handful of other violent crimes to have DNA testing done if they can convince a judge it would likely prove them innocent. That’s something that, in most cases, cannot happen today.
Read the full editorial here
. (The State, 06/25/08)