Today’s Supreme Court decision violates our fundamental notion of fairness and due process of the law. To me, it is common sense that a defendant should have the constitutional right to conduct a test that would establish conclusively whether he is guilty or innocent of an alleged crime."This is yet another example of Justice Roberts carrying deference to the legislature to an extreme.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Defendants Have No Constitutional Right to DNA Testing
The U.S. Supreme Court has held in a 5-4 decision that criminal defendants have no federal constitutional right to DNA testing after their conviction. District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District v. Osborne. This sounds crazy to me. Defendants should always have the right to prove their innocence under the due process clause of the Constitution. State laws vary widely on DNA testing. To leave the availability of DNA testing up to the vagaries of legislatures seems fundamentally wrong. See this article in The Hill for Congressional criticism of the ruling. This quote from Rep. Jerrold Nadler is particularly apt: