June 3rd, 2011
Kathleen Joyce, the Government Relations Director for the Boston Bar Association (BBA), recently published an op ed calling for Massachusetts to pass a DNA access law. The bills are being sponsored by Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative John Fernandes. A public hearing for the bills is scheduled for June 8th in the Gardner Auditorium.
While Massachusetts is generally at the forefront of reform, it is one of only two states lacking a DNA access law. The other state is Oklahoma. Ms. Joyce writes, “An access to DNA statute is important because it is not uncommon for a person to exhaust all possible appeals without being allowed access to DNA evidence from the case. Sometimes the DNA evidence that was available at the time of the defendant’s trial was never tested or the methods of DNA testing used at the time of the trial were inexact, yielding unreliable results.” She also points out that while innocenct people remain in prison, the guilty go free. If passed, the DNA access law would be a useful tool for law enforcement to solve cold cases.
Ms. Joyce ends the piece with a call to action: “Massachusetts could end up being the only state in the country without post-conviction access to DNA. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?”
To read the op ed in its entirety, click here.