Friday, July 20, 2018
Project DNA: California
The pertinent portion of California's postconviction DNA testing statute, Cal. Penal Code § 1405(f), provides in relevant part that:
If the court determines that the convicted person has met all of the requirements of subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, of paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), the court may, as it deems necessary, order a hearing on the motion. The judge who conducted the trial, or accepted the convicted person's plea of guilty or nolo contendere, shall conduct the hearing unless the presiding judge determines that judge is unavailable. Upon request of either party, the court may order, in the interest of justice, that the convicted person be present at the hearing of the motion. Either party, upon request, may request an additional 60 days to brief issues raised in subdivision (g).
So, where does that leave pleading defendants?
This one is pretty clear. The statute specifically provides that "[t]he judge who conducted the trial, or accepted the convicted person's plea of guilty or nolo contendere, shall conduct the hearing" regarding the DNA evidence. Therefore, California's statute clearly allows for pleading defendants to seek postconviction DNA testing.