Monday, March 2, 2009

DNA Testing and the U.S. Supreme Court

DNA Testing and the U.S. Supreme Court

Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld argued today before the U.S. Supreme Court that prisoners have a constitutional right to DNA testing that can prove their innocence. The Innocence Project represents William Osborne, who is seeking DNA testing on evidence that could prove his innocence of an Alaska rape for which he says he was wrongfully convicted in 1993.

Alaska is one of six states in the U.S. without a law providing post-conviction DNA testing access, and has repeatedly denied Osborne DNA testing despite its agreement that testing could definitively prove innocence. The Innocence Project is offering to pay for DNA testing in the case.

"It is absolutely undisputed in this case that there is a DNA test that Mr. Osborne seeks that could conclusively prove his actual innocence," Neufeld said in court today. "This is the very first case litigated to our knowledge anywhere in the country where the prosecutor concedes that a DNA would be absolutely slam-dunk dispositive of innocence, but doesn't consent to it."

In an editorial this morning, the New York Times agreed that “due process requires the state to allow the testing to occur.”

The case is District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District, et al. v. Osborne.

The Innocence Project — Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 100 Fifth Ave. 3rd Floor - New York, NY 10011

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