Monday, March 7, 2011
Supreme Court Allows DNA to be Sought By Civil Rights Claim in Some Cases
SCOTUS reports today that DNA may be sought under a Civil Rights Claim.
Lyle Denniston writes:
After seeming to close the door in 2009 to constitutional claims by convicted individuals that they were wrongly denied access to DNA evidence gathered at a crime scene, the Supreme Court opened the door — but perhaps only slightly — on Monday. The Court ruled that the federal courts may hear, under civil rights law, a claim by a state prison inmate that his state’s procedures for testing of biological evidence are flawed. Although the Court majority stressed that it was not raising inmates’ hopes very high, the ruling potentially could have an impact in 48 states that do allow for some testing of DNA — evidence that sometimes provides a powerful demonstration of innocence, or of guilt. (The federal government also allows access to DNA evidence for testing.)