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Justice Dept. to Review Mandatory Waivers of DNA Testing for Some Fed Convicts

This is an interesting issue. The bottom line is: No one should have to waive their right to DNA testing if there’s any remote possibility that it will prove their innocence. It’s called the justice system. Why should we take something away that can provide justice? If we can prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, why not go for it?

DNA code analysis

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has ordered a review of a little-known Bush administration policy requiring some defendants to waive their right to DNA testing even though that right is guaranteed in a landmark federal law, officials said.

The practice of using DNA waivers began several years ago as a response to the Innocence Protection Act of 2004, which allowed federal inmates to seek post-conviction DNA tests to prove their innocence. More than 240 wrongly convicted people have been exonerated by such tests, including 17 on death row.

The waivers are filed only in guilty pleas and bar defendants from ever requesting DNA testing, even if new evidence emerges. Prosecutors who use them, including some of the nation’s most prominent U.S. attorneys, say people who have admitted guilt should not be able to file frivolous petitions for testing. They say the wave of DNA exonerations has little impact in federal court because all those found to be innocent were state prisoners, and the waivers apply only to federal charges. DNA evidence is used far more frequently in state courts.

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