Supreme Court Rejects Right to DNA Test to Prove Innocence
In a 5-to-4 decision, the court found against William G. Osborne, a convicted rapist from Alaska. But the decision does not necessarily mean that many innocent prisoners will languish in their cells without access to DNA testing, since Alaska is one of only a few states without a law granting convicts at least some access to the new technology.
“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.”
In other words, Alaskans need to change their law. Justice Stevens dissented. Background here
Former FBI Director William Sessions explained why the decision should have gone the other way:
As has been said many times, the Justice Department's mission is to do justice. It is not to seek a conviction—or to uphold one—at all costs.
What interest does Alaska have in denying Osborne access to this evidence, thus obscuring the truth?
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