Posted: April 13, 2010 4:30 PM
Given the Maryland governor's reluctance to commute a sentence or grant clemency to anyone — as well as his embrace of the no-parole-for-lifers and "life means life" philosophy — it's hard to imagine Martin O'Malley ever acting on Mr. Grant's case, never mind in an election year.Maryland received a Bloodsworth Award—named for Kirk Bloodsworth, the first person exonerated by DNA testing in the U.S. who had spent time on death row—from the National Institute of Justice last year to be used for post-conviction DNA testing. But Grant’s case does not include DNA evidence. The clinic at the University of Maryland School of Law says that it proved his innocence by reviewing affidavits of witnesses who said they lied at trial and the discovery of a failed lie detector test by the key prosecution witness.
But, of course, had there been some DNA, this all might have been over by now, and Mark Grant would be out on the street looking for a job.
Now that we are in the age of DNA testing, claims of wrongful convictions without it appear to be at a striking disadvantage, especially if calculating, what's-in-it-for-me politicians are asked to make a judgment call. The availability of DNA testing and resulting exonerations have "made it harder for prisoners seeking to prove their innocence in the much larger number of cases that do not involve DNA evidence," The New York Times reported last year. "Many lawyers have grown more reluctant to take on these kinds of cases because they are much harder and more expensive to pursue."
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