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Criminal Law Resources: DNA Post-Conviction Resources

By Ken Strutin, Published on September 14, 2008

Since DNA profiling was introduced as a forensic tool in the 1980s, advances in this field have begun to motivate legislatures and courts to take actual innocence claims seriously. See, e.g., Letters to Inform 400 Felons Of DNA Evidence Retesting, Washington Post, Aug. 7, 2008, at B4. The majority of states and the federal government have laws on the books that allow some kind of post-conviction testing of genetic material. And in the federal courts a constitutionally based right to access under substantive and procedural due process is emerging. See Advances in DNA-Based Innocence Claims, New York Law Journal, Sept. 9, 2008, at 5, col. 1.

The results of testing genetic material can be exculpatory and support post-conviction relief, such as habeas corpus or clemency. Or they can provide a basis for mitigation or sentence reduction. As DNA technology is refined, the possibilities for reevaluation of early test results or fresh examination of evidence continue to broaden.

This article contains a collection of recent and representative web-based materials concerning DNA technology developments and legal research on the impact of wrongful convictions and DNA exonerations on the justice system.

Legislation Standards Reports
Law Reviews Seconday Resources Training and Education
Bibliographies Resources  

Legislation

These sites contain information on DNA access and testing laws and related post-conviction legislation nationwide.

Standards

National organizations and governmental bodies have developed standards and guidelines for collection and retention of genetic material in criminal cases as well as testing protocols.


Reports

These reports offer policy recommendations from various perspectives based on research into exonerations and DNA testing.

Law Reviews

Secondary Resources

These articles and annotations provide background on DNA access and testing legislation, requirements for filing post-conviction motions, and case law developments.

Training and Education

These web resources provide background and educational materials on DNA science and testing methods.


Bibliographies

These bibliographies will lead to more in-depth information about post-conviction DNA testing, wrongful conviction and other DNA related issues.