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Supreme court rules against inmates obtaining DNA testing after convictions

posted 6/19/2009 1:07:17 AM |
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Washington Post

As the story says, the Supreme Court has decided it is up to individual state laws and Congress who should be allowed to obtain DNA testing, not to make it a constitutional right. Even though DNA tests have exonerated 240 people so far, including 17 death row inmates.
It was a close vote, 5-4. And then one judge was quoted as saying, "A criminal defendant proved guilty after a fair trial does not have the same liberty interests as a free man."

Do you think this is fair?


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Supreme court rules against inmates obtaining DNA testing after convictions
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Jun 19 @ 1:28AM  
Does not sound like "Due Process" to me.

Jun 19 @ 1:36AM  
I agree.

And long time no see, Bro.

Jun 19 @ 2:09AM  
If there is DNA evidence in any case I think it should be tested. There are far too many innocent people in prison these days, especially poor people who didn't have the money for the "best" lawyers. They need something or someone on their side to help prove their innocence.

Jun 19 @ 3:26AM  
The majority said Alaska's procedures seemed sufficient and there was no reason for federal courts to "leap ahead" of the states.
Seeming sufficient and actually being sufficient are sometimes two seperate things. And in this cas a matter of someones life as they once knew it.

And maybe there is a guilty man still being free to do it again and not paying for the crime committed against this woman.

So, what are they saying, that other states courts may have made mistakes but Alaska isn't capable to that?

Doesn't seem fair to me at all and I think his lawyer is partially to blame for not pushing the issue at his intial trial.
Seems to me that he evidently thought he was guilty.


Jun 19 @ 4:07AM  
I agree, blueeyes. Too many cases rushed through court to not allow them all avenues of aid, especially a system so well known and documented to be very very valid like DNA testing is.

And I guess you're right, casually...Alaska doesn't make mistakes.....
Another thought is....what if it ends up as a case by case situation....then a judge has a bad day, so he refuses a DNA test request....too many loose ends for me.

Jun 19 @ 7:55AM  
it is up to individual state laws
not to make it a constitutional right
Works for me...

Jun 19 @ 7:58AM  
Ok One question here ... Dose Honor not demand we seek the truth? Inmate or no ... the truth is the truth!


Master Gry

Jun 19 @ 8:24AM  
^^ what Gry said.

Jun 19 @ 8:58AM  
Hell no it isn't fair!!! I just got done reading the nonfiction book by John Grisham, Innocent Man, and it's about 2 men that were convicted in the early 80s for raping and murdering a woman. With no physical evidence, the prosecution’s case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. They were both found guilty. One was given a life sentence and the other was sent to death row. After being in jail for 12 years and the guy on death row being 5 days away from being executed, they were both finally exonerated and by DNA evidence.

So, the both lost 12 years of their lives, one losing the chance to watch his child grow up, and the other almost died....and they were completely innocent!!! The court systems in this country scare me.....seems as though the feeling is not "innocent until proven guilty" but rather "guilty until proven innocent". What bullshit!

Jun 19 @ 9:29AM  
There seems to be a misunderstanding here and it is exactly why I keep telling all to read the Constitution. This has nothing to do with any political party. Nor is it a liberal vs conservative issue. It is a pure Constitutional matter.
First "Due Process" is not being denied.
DNA testing is not being denied in any case.
What is being done is the law is stating what the Constitution has said from day one and that is this is an issue for each state to decide when all testing is finished in a case and the case can proceed to a final decision through all the state courts.

That way when and if it goes to the Supreme Court, say in a death penalty case. The Supreme Court can then decide if all constitutional rights were afforded to the defendant. That is all the Supreme Court does anyway. It does not decide cases of innocence or guilt. It decides on Constitutionality of cases that come before it.

As far as using DNA to prove innocence or guilt nothing has changed. It is simply a clarification of the laws of the US and states rights.

Nothing to get upset about here. Get upset when they make law from the bench. Then you are screwed! Legislators make law not judges, Judges are supposed to insure all rights have been given the accused and a fair trial is given and all valid appeals are met. When judges make law from the bench is when problems start and people get rightfully angry. That is NOT Dur Process.

Just ask a lawyer you trust. Better yet, read the Constitution yourself. It really is a short and easy read with a ton of info to help you understand many things that effect you everyday of your lives.

Jun 19 @ 9:51AM  
Nothing to get upset about here.

I most certainly will get upset over this. It's injustice. Period.

Very first paragraph:

Prisoners do not have a constitutional right to DNA testing after their conviction, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, even though the technology provides an "unparalleled ability both to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to identify the guilty."

Like I already said before, I JUST finished that book and this is all still very fresh in my mind. The book shocked me and it was a wake up call for me. I strongly urge people to read that book. I don't care if it's in the Constitution or not. It's wrong....PERIOD.

Jun 19 @ 10:08AM  

Why DNA ? I'm guilty. Assault with a friendly weapon

Jun 19 @ 10:09AM  
Nothing to get upset about here.
Wonders if you would have a different opinion of that if it were you sitting in prison and you just happened to be innocent.

Jun 19 @ 12:29PM  
This has nothing to do with any political party. Nor is it a liberal vs conservative issue.

Exactly. And so far no one has said anything politically demeaning. Nor will they.It's well known I don't do politics. I dont read, nor comment on political blogs. So keep it off mine. Nuff said on that.

I also agree with grygoast, truth should always be sought after. Always.

Straddle, I am not sure what you are getting at. If you are agreeing that states should have the right to say yes or no, that's quite fine. However, note that at this time three states have NO laws concerning DNA rights at all.

I hope all took note that the book dmbchick is referring to is NONfiction.
As casually said, how would it feel to be 5 days from execution, knowing you were innocent?

Night, we all know you are a serial assaulter....

And as for
DNA testing is not being denied in any case.
Ummm...the story says directly...[QUOTE]Osborne wanted to pay for a more discerning test of semen found in a condom at the crime scene, a test prosecutors agreed would almost definitively prove his guilt or innocence. But prosecutors refused to allow it, and Alaska courts agreed
I would have to disagree about that.

Jun 19 @ 1:04PM  
What I was saying is I agree with the Supreme Court ruling. It should be left up to the states to decide on a case by case bases whether there is possibly strong evidence to merrit a DNA test for the convicted felon that would call into question the guilty verdict by the jury. I'm strongly against giving these convicted felons anymore constitutional rights, especially at taxpayers expence. Laura posted a very good comment as well.

Jun 19 @ 1:10PM  
That's all good, thats what discussions are for.

But I stay away from political blogs totally. And was just lettin it be known not only to visual, that aint flyin on any blog of mine.

I brought this subject up from a legal standpoint, not from any political "party" angle whatsoever.

Jun 19 @ 1:22PM  
But I stay away from political blogs totally. And was just lettin it be known not only to visual, that aint flyin on any blog of mine
Where's the politics in mine and Laura's comments, Rod? If you're referring to my comment about at taxpayers expence, this is a legit remark on this topic. Someone has to pay for all of these convicted felons DNA tests. Isn't the Supreme Court ruling in your blog about politics? Just sayin'...

Btw, who in their family has had a child molested by some scumbag who was convicted by a jury for rape and sexual battery? Would you support them in having a constatutional right to a DNA test too, and paying for it as well?

Jun 19 @ 1:29PM  
Also, let me clarify my last comment. I do realize that DNA samples are taken pretty much most of the time if not all of the time in rape and sexual cases with adults and children when the crime occured. My point is not everyone is deserving of constitional rights and having DNA test requested.

Jun 19 @ 1:38PM  
This has nothing to do with any political party. Nor is it a liberal vs conservative issue.

Was just making that statement of hers clear. A LOT of political blogs flyin around here lately. A lot of plain blogs becoming political as well. I will always hold up anyone's right to blog whatever they want to, and I definitely practice what I preach and just don't read em.

Although if you want my personal opinion, discussing politics in a sex forum is the same as discussing sex in church in my no better than anyone else's opinion. But that's just me. Blog whatever you want, I dont have to read it. But, I don't have to let it on my blogs either.

Now back to the topic....yeah, I see your point about the costs. However in this particular case, it was said
Osborne wanted to pay for a more discerning test
but I know a lot of suspects yes the costs would come out of our tax money. However personally, I would rather spend a couple extra bucks to get the RIGHT scumbag, yes. DNA tests are nearly infallible. And I do wonder how anyone would feel should some "scumbag" get executed, they run a DNA test at the autopsy, and it's found that they were indeed innocent...?

Jun 19 @ 1:41PM  
I do realize that DNA samples are taken pretty much most of the time if not all of the time in rape and sexual cases with adults and children when the crime occured. My point is not everyone is deserving of constitional rights and having DNA test requested.

To which I also agree about how often samples are taken. Nearly all of the time, save for three states, it seems.

Your last sentence does the spark the usual question, though...where is the line on that? Repeat offenders, the homeless or jobless, someone with a bad criminal history...where?

Jun 19 @ 1:58PM  
In the case I talked about, the 2 men were given a settlement. Guess who had to pay for the settlement? The taxpayers, including the victim's family.

Jun 19 @ 2:01PM  
Ida made the prosecution and judge pay for it.

That's definitely a two edged sword there. But then one could argue that if a DNA test had been available at that time, it would never have happened.

Jun 19 @ 2:07PM  
Ida made the prosecution and judge pay for it.
I totally agree!

Jun 19 @ 2:08PM  
All I did is explain what the Supreme Court does and what the states Rights in this is. I said nothing about politics other than pointing and making sure all understood it is NOT a political issue. If everyone READ the United States Consitution instead of assuming they know what it says, you would understand what I was explaining. I know it is more fun to throw theories around and speculate and "what if" here than know what the facts are. Good luck.

Jun 19 @ 2:21PM  
Fair? If you were innocent and on death row, and DNA could prove you were not guilty, would you think it was fair?

Jun 19 @ 3:42PM  
So many are completely missing the point so to help you understand a few things.
This is in the Preamble of the US Constitution
Article III Section 2
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

To long for this email format, but read the 4th through 11th Amendments in the body of the Constitution.

Nobody is denying anyone due process or the use of DNA. You can be convicted in one court. That does NOT end the case. There are things are called appeals. All evidence that was in the first trial and any new evidence is allowed in the Appeal.

Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

You do not need a Constitutional scholar to understand this. Well so many have a problem. (I am not singling out anyone)

Jun 19 @ 6:34PM  
Cast one vote for tragically and arrogantly UN-fair.
Let me see if I understand this.... and go from there. A man who was convicted in 1993 of a crime, could be conclusively determined guilty or innocent by a test that was not available at the time of his conviction, but IS now. But is denied that test and all the supreme court can say is...... he doesn't have the same liberty interests as a free man?? WTF ?

Lets talk about the supreme court. First off, it was a 5 - 4 decision. Which means half of them (and I use the term half loosely, since the number of justices is an odd number and it can't be exactly half.) Anyway half of them must not know what they are doing and just make this shit up as they go.

Think about it for a minute. These are supposed to be the cream of the crop. Best of the best when it comes to interpreting the constitution. Most of the time when you read a decision, it looks like an over time hockey score. 5 - 4. I know everyone wants to keep politics out of a judicial decision...... but you tell me. are half of them incompetent (and I'm not saying which half) or does politics extend to the bench and they vote down party lines just like elected officials?

The "challenges DNA technology poses to our criminal justice systems and our traditional notions of finality" are better left to elected officials than federal judges, Roberts wrote for the majority in a 5 to 4 decision.
"To suddenly constitutionalize this area would short-circuit what looks to be a prompt and considered legislative response," he wrote.

Wow....... I wonder what he would have written if he had been on the bench for Roe vs Wade? Would they have decided that it was up to individual states to legalize, or not legalize abortion?

In closing, I may be bitching here........ but I'll still take my chances with a United States court ANY day over North Korea, China, or just about every country south of Texas, or anywhere in the middle east. PC or not..............
God bless America.

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Supreme court rules against inmates obtaining DNA testing after convictions