News 02.10.09

The Constitutional Right to DNA Testing: Resources in the Osborne Case

Innocence Project client William Osborne was convicted in Alaska in 1993 for a crime that DNA testing could prove he didn't commit. Alaska has arbitrarily refused Osborne’s requests for DNA testing for years – even though the testing would be performed at no cost to the state, and the state now concedes that DNA testing could prove his innocence.

Osborne’s federal petition for DNA testing was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. On June 18, the court ruled 5-4 that his constitutional rights were not violated by the state’s denial of testing. The Innocence Project believes that while this decision is disappointing and flawed, it will have a limited impact.

Below is the

full decision

, along with other resources from the case.

Legal Documents, District Attorney's Office of the Third Judicial District v. William G. Osborne

Supreme Court opinion

– 6/18/09 (PDF)

Supreme Court oral argument transcript

– 3/2/09 (PDF)

Innocence Project Brief And Friend-of-the-Court Briefs on Behalf of Osborne

Innocence Project Merits Brief in U.S. Supreme Court


Amicus Brief from current and former prosecutors


Amicus Brief from crime victims and victims' families

Amicus Brief from people exonerated with post-conviction DNA testing

Amicus Brief from civil liberties and legal rights organizations

Amicus Brief from people who received clemency through post-conviction DNA testing


State of Alaska Brief and Friend-of-the-Court Briefs on Behalf of Alaska

State of Alaska Merits Brief in U.S. Supreme Court


Amicus Brief from the United States of America


Amicus Brief from the City of New York


Amicus Brief from 31 U.S. states


Amicus Brief from the city, state and county associations


Amicus Brief from crime victims



Opinion from U.S. Circuit Courtof Appeals for the 9th Circuit

Case No. No. 06-35875 – Filed 4/2/2008

Innocence Project Resources:

Press Releases:

6/18/09 –

U.S. Supreme Court Decision on DNA Testing is Disappointing But Will Have Limited Impact, Innocence Project Says

2/5/2009 –

Prosecutors, Crime Victims, People Exonerated with DNA Testing and Others Urge U.S. Supreme Court to Recognize Constitutional Right to Post-Conviction DNA Testing

1/27/2009 –

Innocence Project, Representing Alaska Man in U.S. Supreme Court Case, Says Constitution Allows Post-Conviction DNA Tests

Blog Posts:


U.S. Supreme Court Hears Osborne Arguments


Prosecutors, Crime Victims and Exonerees File in Innocence Project Supreme Court Case


The Constitutional Right to DNA Testing

Media Contact:

For Media Inquiries or further documents from the case, please contact Eric Ferrero at 212-364-5346 or [email protected]

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