DNA Re-Testing: What It Can Mean for You
One of the most significant forensic advances since the introduction of DNA evidence in criminal trials has been the ability to test increasingly smaller biological samples. DNA testing gives incarcerated prisoners hope that they can finally prove their innocence. Given that unreliable eyewitness accounts and disputed physical evidence are often used in convictions, DNA testing offers a much more reliable method for determining innocence or guilt.
Recently, the Supreme Court of Ohio made an important ruling on this issue. The Court held that a trial court may not reject an application for new DNA testing of biological material based on a previous denial of post-conviction DNA testing without evaluating the statute’s definition of “definitive DNA test” and applying the new criteria for post-conviction DNA testing. In 2010, the Ohio legislature changed the law regarding post-conviction DNA testing to allow for re-tests where a defendant can show that;
- There have been scientific advances in DNA testing procedures.
- A new test could show what an older one could not.
- There is a strong probability the results of the new test would be “outcome determinative.”
For example, an item could have been tested initially and excluded certain individuals. However, with advances in DNA testing technology, a test may be able to positively identify the source of the DNA, not merely exclude people.
After DNA testing is conducted, the Court can handle the results in different ways. The Court could order a new trial if the evidence raises doubts about the conviction. If the DNA results are clear and convincing, however, the Court can completely exonerate the person. A former police captain was recently exonerated after the Court found that DNA tests definitively proved his innocence and that no reasonable jury could have convicted him of his ex-wife’s murder.
The law of post-conviction is constantly changing. Contact an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney who stays current with changes in the legal field and will be your zealous advocate.