People of Northwest Public Radio
Prison DNA Testing
Thu August 21, 2014
Wash. Supreme Court Sets Standard For Post-Conviction DNA Testing
Washington’s Supreme Court may have just made it easier for prison inmates to try to get their convictions overturned through DNA testing. In a 6-to-3 ruling Thursday, the high court said inmates don’t have to show they’re likely innocent in order to win a post-conviction DNA test.
The ruling stems from the case of Lindsey L. Crumpton who was convicted of breaking into the home of an elderly Bremerton widow in 1993 and raping her multiple times. Years later, Crumpton sought to have a post-conviction review of the DNA evidence. The courts said “no” on the grounds that it was unlikely DNA testing would exonerate him.
Now the Washington Supreme Court has set a standard that is less rigid. In order to get a new test, a convict only has to show that the results of a DNA test could prove their innocence or guilt.
“In a multiple perpetrator scenario it might not, but in a single perpetrator scenario it might very well,” Attorney Diane Meyers said.
Meyers filed a friend of the court brief in this case on behalf of the Innocence Network. Meyers calls the decision “incredibly meaningful” for anyone wrongfully convicted in Washington. However, the three dissenting justices warn this ruling will open the floodgates and allow convicted rapists going back 20 years to request and receive post-conviction DNA testing.
Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network