Thursday, June 18, 2009

And in the interest of Amurican Justice everywhere…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:40 PM Permalink

…our SCOTUS, in its collective wisdom, has ruled that convicted persons have no right to have a dna test done to try and prove their innocence after already having served lengthy sentences. From the NYT:
“DNA testing has an unparalleled ability both to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to identify the guilty,” the majority conceded, in an opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “The availability of new DNA testing, however, cannot mean that every criminal conviction, or even every conviction involving biological evidence, is suddenly in doubt.” [Of course it doesn't, but there should be certain exceptions to a law like this if we are truly interested in justice. Bill]

In addition, the majority reasoned, it is not so much up to the federal courts as it is to the state legislatures to establish rules “to harness DNA’s power to prove innocence without unnecessarily overthrowing the established criminal justice system.”…

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a dissent expressing his dismay that the majority had chosen to approve of Alaska’s denial of the evidence sought by the defendant. “The DNA test Osborne seeks is a simple one, its cost modest, and its results uniquely precise,” Justice Stevens said.

Since 1992, 238 people in the United States, some who were sitting on death row, have been exonerated of crimes through DNA testing. In many of those cases, the DNA testing used to clear them was not available at the time of the crime.
My word! We cannot tolerate the injustice of seeing an innocent man go free after many years in prison!

So, okay, these facts involve a single case in Alaska (guess the guy wasn't killing enough wolves from low and slow flying aircraft with powerful rifles and watching them writhe in pain until death, you know, like Shotgun Sarah) so please read the linked article as I, here, have addressed only the most vile and disgusting aspect of this decision.

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At 2:21 PM, Blogger The Vidiot said...

Just heard a lawyer on some talk show suggest that the guy's case should've been argued from the point that the DNA evidence should be treated like a witness and not as evidence.

But beyond that, it's extremely stupid that proof of innocence is not enough to spring someone from incarceration.

I remember hearing from someone that law school totally retrains your brain. I have to assume that it makes it dumber.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

It totally rots your brain. I fought to get into law school with only a high school diploma and, after several batteries of tests (Some kind of AA equivalency test, SATs and LSATs) they admitted me. Then midway through the second semester tuition more than doubled and drove me out. But it had already made my brain just plain damn weird.


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