Crime Victims and Victim's Families
These victims and victims’ family members have been profoundly impacted by post-conviction DNA testing. They include victims whose misidentification of an innocent person resulted in a wrongful conviction later overturned with DNA testing and a woman who was raped by a man who remained at large while an innocent person was in prison for his previous crimes. They also include people who thought their loved ones’ murderers had been convicted – only to learn years later, through post-conviction DNA testing, that innocent people had been wrongfully convicted and justice had not been done.
This brief outlines the ways post-conviction DNA analysis serves and supports victims’ rights and notes that other crime victims and their families are likely to be affected by the resolution of this case. “Amici have all suffered in some way at the hands of criminals, but they have also experienced the power of post-conviction DNA testing to rebalance the scales of justice,” the brief says. While the federal government and all 50 states have passed legislation recognizing the rights of crime victims, the brief notes that innocent defendants should not be punished for crimes they did not commit – something the government and the victims of crime have in common. At the core is the power DNA testing has to determine innocence or guilt and to provide victims, defendants and society with finality. (Kenneth W. Starr at law firm of Kirkland & Ellis is counsel of record on the brief.)
Following are some of the victims and victims’ family members who signed the brief:
Melinda Elkins, who endured her husband’s false conviction for the rape and murder of her mother and the rape of her niece; Tracy Kenellopoulos, who was raped by a man with a history of sexual assaults, who remained at large because an innocent man was wrongfully convicted of his crimes; Jeanette Popp, who watched two innocent men go to prison for her daughter’s rape and murder; and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, who twice testified against an innocent man she was convinced had raped her; she was victimized by the crime against her, and then by her own guilt when she learned she had misidentified the assailant.
Download the full brief
Other Amicus Briefs in the Case: