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Justice Dept. to Stop Pushing Defendants in Guilty Pleas to Waive Right to DNA Testing

Holder delivers speech recently in Orlando/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department policy during the Bush-era is about to get the boot.

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will issue a memo Thursday to U.S. Attorneys around the country saying that he’s overturning a policy which urged prosecutors to push defendants hammering out guilty pleas to waive their right to DNA testing in their cases, a right which is guaranteed under federal law.

The Post wrote that the “waivers have been in widespread use in federal cases for about five years and run counter to the national movement toward allowing prisoners to seek post-conviction DNA testing to prove their innocence. More than 260 wrongly convicted people have been exonerated by such tests, though virtually all have been state prisoners.”

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