By Team UAB bs
Now it seems commonplace for states to have CODIS, a DNA database for convicted felons and crime scene evidence. Too bad it's not as common to test old evidence.
|"Studies of wrongful convictions suggest that there are thousands more innocent people in jails and prisons. The Innocence Project, the nation’s most prominent organization devoted to proving wrongful convictions, is pursuing 250 cases and at any given time is reviewing 6,000 to 10,000 additional cases for legal action. Approximately 1 percent of those cases will be accepted, and half of those accepted cases are closed because evidence has been lost or destroyed."|
DNA from old cases where the technology was not as sensitive or perhaps not yet available should now be reviewed to see if there is a match, or not.
|"In a 2005 study, a University of Michigan Law School professor, Samuel R. Gross, estimated that 340 prisoners sentenced from 1989 to 2003 had been exonerated."|
That's an average of nearly 25 people per year! I realize funding is an issue, but really what's more cost effective; paying someone to work on evidence to release what would probably far exceed 25 innocent people per year, or losing years of potential freedom and settling for thousands or millions of dollars in damages once they are released.
|"The most recent prisoner to be exonerated by DNA evidence was Dwayne Allen Dail, who served 18 years in North Carolina for a false conviction of child rape. Prosecutors had used the victim’s identification of Mr. Dail and hair found at the crime scene to convict him. Years later, after repeated inquires from defense lawyers, the police found a box of additional evidence in the case that contained the victim’s semen-stained nightgown. DNA analysis ruled out Mr. Dail and implicated another man. Mr. Dail was released from prison in August."|
First of all, why did he need repeated inquiries? This shouldn't be so difficult. Secondly, CODIS actually matched someone else. There should be a better way to get old evidence into the system for cases where the conviction wasn't made on DNA evidence, but where it was available. Perhaps it may have been discovered that Mr. Dail wasn't a match LONG ago. By now we should have diminished the backlog of convicted felons to be put into the system. Now we need to work on the backlog of old evidence.