CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Justice system discourages DNA testing

Recently, The Dispatch reported the story of Robert McClendon, an inmate freed after spending 18 years
in prison for a crime he didn't commit ("Ex-prisoner now officially innocent," Aug. 27).

He was exonerated after DNA testing showed that he wasn't the assailant in the rape for which he was convicted.
This story also brought to light that


has no law requiring that DNA evidence be retained or preserved. This has prompted a call for the legislature to rectify this shortcoming in the law.

Even if


passes a law requiring DNA to be preserved, so what? When an inmate makes a motion requesting a DNA test, prosecutors fight it tooth and nail and judges dismiss these motions on technicalities.

The Dispatch disclosed that out of the hundreds of requests from inmates, only a paltry few are ever granted. Other requests are simply ignored.
McClendon filed his motion for DNA testing in 2004. It wasn't until the Innocence Project got involved that his DNA was finally tested. The reason for the delay? According to the judge, "Sometimes things fall through the cracks." That's the reason a man spent an additional four years in prison?
When the opportunity presents itself, the justice system should do everything it can to determine whether an innocent man is behind bars. Instead, it does just the opposite, because each time an innocent man is released from prison, it's a black eye for the justice system that so eagerly convicted him.


Southern Ohio

Correctional Facility

Geoff Dutton Reporter The



[Mark Godsey]

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