Thursday, June 4, 2009

DNA Testing Under Fire

Despite state statutes protecting the ability of defendants to utilize DNA testing as evidence in their trials, recent studies have revealed a nationwide tendency for prosecutors to attempt to deny the admissibility and reliability of this forensic data. According to Shaila Dewan of the New York Times, “a recent analysis of 225 DNA exonerations by Brandon L. Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, found that prosecutors opposed DNA testing in almost one out of five cases.” This prosecutorial backlash against DNA evidence is largely attributed to the desire to “to avoid having their work second-guessed by objective science,” (The Right to DNA Testing, New York Times) and the perception that attempts to obtain DNA tests are often a delay tactic to merely postpone inevitable convictions on other grounds. Attempts to block DNA testing and admissibility presents a problem for poorly represented defendants who have a significant path towards proving their innocence blocked and hampers the effectiveness of the criminal justice system by preventing the possibility of the discovery of guilty third parties.

To read more:
Professor Brandon Garrett’s Analysis,
“Study: Prosecutors Resist DNA Testing”, United Press International,