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Justices Find Convicts Have No Right to DNA Testing

The Supreme Court said Thursday that convicts have no constitutional right to test DNA evidence in hopes of proving their innocence long after they were found guilty. Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal discusses the impact of the decision.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The justices said in a 5-4 decision that convicted criminals do not have a constitutional right to access evidence for DNA testing, even if that testing might conclusively prove guilt or innocence.

    It was one of several rulings handed down by the high court today. Here to tell us more, as always, is Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal.

    And we'll begin with the DNA case, Marcia.

  • MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal:

    OK.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    What was William Osborne demanding from the state of Alaska?

  • MARCIA COYLE:

    Well, Osborne contends that he is actually innocent of the crime of a very brutal sexual assault of a prostitute in Alaska. He wanted Alaska to give him the most recent DNA technology to test some of the evidence that was left behind at the scene of that crime to show that he is innocent.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    So the rape in question happened in 1993 and Osborne…

  • MARCIA COYLE:

    Long time ago.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    … is saying that there are much better tests today, right?

  • MARCIA COYLE:

    Yes, much better than when he went to trial.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    And Alaska didn't want to give him that further test, right?

  • MARCIA COYLE:

    That's correct. Well, Alaska felt he didn't qualify under its procedures, under its post-conviction law for that test.

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