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Uh, nevermind?

A less-reported side of the DNA-testing-in-the-criminal-justice-system debate: convicts who fight for DNA testing which then confirms their guilt. I knew it happened sometimes, but not this much:

Harvey's guilt did not surprise experts in DNA testing, including his attorney, Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School in New York. About half of all conclusive post-conviction tests inculpate the inmate, rather than prove his innocence.
Wow. I guess when you're in prison for the long haul, you have little to lose. That makes it even harder to understand why some prosecutors fight so hard against the tests. In the particular case profiled here:
"We always knew Harvey was a rapist. Now we know this man who claimed to be innocent is a liar," Horan said. "I was satisfied [with Harvey's guilt] from the beginning. That's why I opposed the waste of resources. . . . [The lab] could have spent the time on cases where the victims haven't had their day in court."
The logic there's a little lacking; the prosecutor's appeals wasted far more resources than the test itself did.

Of course, DNA testing isn't a panacea; there are many cases in which it's inapplicable. But given the level of accuracy compared with other evidence, it's hard to justify not using it whenever the results could be exculpatory.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 16, 2002 5:27 AM.

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