Infographic: 50 States Have DNA Access Laws, but Some Have Limitations
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill into law that provides people in her state the right to DNA testing that could prove they were wrongly convicted. The legislation had previously passed unanimously through both houses of the Oklahoma legislature. With the passage of this law, all 50 states now have a law guaranteeing DNA testing to those convicted of crimes, though many of these laws have significant limitations. Find out what the law is in your state.
Laws like these are important for the wrongfully convicted because they provide a guaranteed means to DNA testing. Without such laws, prisoners have no statutory right to testing and must convince judges or prosecutors to grant them access. Larry Peterson, who was falsely convicted of murder and spent 16 years in prison in New Jersey, struggled for years to have evidence tested until a DNA testing law was passed in his state. Brandon Moon, who was falsely convicted of rape and spent 17 years in prison in Texas, filed DNA testing motions for 10 years before there was a statute that allowed him to prove his innocence. These were just two out of many cases where the lack of a DNA testing law extended the time that innocent people remained in prison.