The Osborne Case: Amicus Brief from Current and Former Prosecutors


Current and Former Prosecutors

This brief was filed by current and former prosecutors with nearly a century of prosecutorial experience at the local, state and federal levels. They have handled rape and murder cases where DNA testing was relevant, and they have also prosecuted people where evidence indicated guilt but guilt was not certain. Some of them prosecuted people who were later exonerated through DNA testing, and some granted requests for post-conviction DNA testing that exonerated innocent people.

The brief notes that the pursuit for justice is a fundamental crux of our criminal justice system, and modern DNA analysis can, in many cases, fulfill the search for truth.  The brief says that, as a result, the majority of prosecutors are willing to review cases where DNA testing could change a verdict – but that relying solely on the unfettered discretion of prosecutors can sanction injustice. The prosecutors argue that a limited federal right to post-conviction DNA testing would pose a minimal burden on state laws and procedures and would not affect state laws that are already in place. The brief also says state and federal resources would not be overwhelmed by a limited federal right to post-conviction DNA testing. (Donald B. Ayer at the law firm of Jones Day is counsel of record on the brief.)

Following are current and former prosecutors who signed the brief:

Janet Reno, former Attorney General of the United States; Thomas M. Breen, former Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, Illinois; Kenneth L. Gillis, who served in high-level supervisory positions in the Cook County, Illinois, State’s Attorney’s office for 12 years; Peggy A. Lautenschlager, former Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin;

Carl J. Marlinga, who was the elected prosecuting attorney of Macomb County, Michigan (in suburban Detroit);

Scott D. McNamara, who was elected to serve as District Attorney of Oneida County, New York, after having been appointed to that position earlier that year; Jim Petro, former Attorney General of Ohio; Craig Watkins, District Attorney for Dallas County, Texas; and Andrea L. Zopp, former assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois then Chief of the Narcotics Bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and First Assistant State’s Attorney of Cook County.

Download the full brief


Other Amicus Briefs in the Case:

Crime Victims and Victim's Families

People Exonerated with Post-Conviction DNA Testing

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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