High court weighs mandatory DNA test

    The Pennsylvania Supreme court will hear a case today that tests a state law requiring DNA testing for inmates trying to prove their innocence. Attorneys for a man convicted of rape and murder 15 years ago say Philadelphia’s District Attorney want the court to impose a narrow interpretation of the law.

    The Pennsylvania Supreme court will hear a case today that tests a state law requiring DNA testing for inmates trying to prove their innocence. Attorneys for a man convicted of rape and murder 15 years ago say Philadelphia’s District Attorney want the court to impose a narrow interpretation of the law.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090414evidence.mp3]

    Pennsylvania allows inmates convicted before 1995 to seek DNA testing to prove their innocence. The Philadelphia District Attorneys office is asking the court to prevent a DNA test in this case. Attorneys for the inmate say if the court rules in favor of the prosecution, it could make it difficult for any Pennsylvania inmate to get DNA testing.

    Nina Morrison is an attorney with the Innocence Project in New York.

    Morrison: So our fear is that they’re gonna create an exception to the law and basically swallow the whole law and undo a lot of the good the legislature intended to do.

    A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office says testing has been done on an article of clothing, and further tests will only confirm the inmate’s guilt.

    DNA testing has exonerated 9 people in Pennsylvania. The state recently established its own Innocence Project at Temple University that will begin researching cases in the fall.

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