Could post-conviction DNA testing help you? If you’ve been wrongfully convicted, it just might.
Thanks to groups like the Innocence Project, more people are aware of just how easily a wrongful conviction can happen — and they’ve managed to use post-conviction DNA testing to free at least 266 other people who were wrongfully convicted.
They’ve also brought a greater awareness of the need for post-conviction DNA testing in cases where the biological evidence was there but the science of DNA testing hadn’t yet developed enough to be useful. Since advancements in DNA testing have made the process more sophisticated than ever, many of those cases should be revisited.
State governments have responded to the growing awareness of the need for post-conviction DNA testing in a fairly positive way — most have passed laws that address the issue and make it possible for the wrongfully convicted to ask for testing if they have reason to believe it could free them.
It’s important to understand, however, that post-conviction DNA testing isn’t yet considered to be a right — you have to apply to reopen your case and prove that you meet the standards set forth by the laws of the state for testing consideration. That can be difficult to do on your own, so it’s wise to have an attorney help you through the process.
If you’re very lucky, you may find that the prosecution supports your request for DNA testing. This can happen if new information comes to light strongly suggesting that mistakes were made in the way that police gathered evidence against you. It may also happen after another suspect is identified, giving police a strong reason to believe that DNA testing could exonerate you and convict the other suspect.
In most cases, however, the prosecution is likely to object to your request for testing. He or she may insist that DNA testing can’t provide enough useful information in your case to either establish your innocence or create a reasonable doubt about your conviction. In those situations, you absolutely need an attorney with experience in wrongful convictions to help you fight for the ability to do the testing.
For more information on how our law firm can help you overcome a wrongful conviction, please visit our page.