Posted: April 10, 2013 6:00 PM
An editorial in Tuesday’s Tulsa World heralded the DNA testing access bill and called it one of the most reasonable pieces of legislation advanced this session. The bill would allow an individual who is convicted of a crime access to DNA testing that could prove their innocence.
If passed, House Bill 1068 would also allow previously tested evidence to be subjected to newer testing techniques and would require the court to hold a hearing if the DNA testing results are favorable to the defendant.
Tulsa World writes:
It makes no sense that the public, police or prosecutors would want the wrong person accused and convicted of a crime while the actual perpetrator remained free.
In the 20 years since DNA testing became widely used, 305 post-conviction DNA exonerations have occurred nationally and 11 in Oklahoma since 1992. One of the cases, out of Ada, involved a defendant who came within days of being executed before being cleared.
Nationally, the average length of time that these wrongly convicted individuals served was 13.6 years.
Wrongful convictions undermine the legal system, rob the wrongly convicted of years of freedom and put the public at risk.
This is a common-sense, fair piece of legislation. The Legislature should pass it unanimously.
Oklahoma is the only state in the nation that doesn’t have a DNA testing law. The bill was approved unanimously by the Oklahoma House of Representatives in February and is now awaiting a full Senate vote.
Read the full editorial.
More about access to DNA testing.
Learn about your state’s law granting access to testing.
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