Court Finds Convicts Have No Right to Test DNA

Ad Feedback

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Thursday that convicts have no constitutional right to test DNA evidence in hopes of proving their innocence long after they were found guilty of a crime.
     
The decision may have limited impact because the federal government and 47 states already have laws that allow convicts some access to genetic evidence.

Testing has led to the exoneration of at least 232 people who had been found guilty of murder, rape and other violent crimes.
     
The court ruled 5-4, with its conservative justices in the majority, against an Alaska man who was convicted in a brutal attack on a prostitute 16 years ago.
     
William Osborne won a federal appeals court ruling granting him access to a blue condom that was used during the attack. Osborne argued that testing its contents would firmly establish his innocence or guilt.
     
Separately, in parole proceedings, Osborne has admitted his guilt in a bid for release from prison.
     
The high court reversed the appellate ruling. States already are dealing with the challenges and opportunities presented by advances in genetic testing, Chief Justice John Roberts said in his majority opinion.
     
"To suddenly constitutionalize this area would short-circuit what looks to be a prompt and considered legislative response," Roberts said.
     
But Justice John Paul Stevens said in dissent that a simple test would settle the matter. "The court today blesses the state's arbitrary denial of the evidence Osborne seeks," Stevens said.
     
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.  

CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting? Are you facing a difficult situation?

Find peace with God, discover more about God or send us your prayer request.

Call The 700 Club Prayer Center at 1 (800) 823-6053, 24 hours a day.

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Mark Sherman

Mark Sherman

Associated Press Writer

The Associated Press is the backbone of the world's information system serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television and online customers with coverage in all media and news in all formats. It is the largest and oldest news organization in the world, serving as a source of news, photos, graphics, audio and video.