Over the last couple of years there have been a number of people who have been exonerated due to new or newly examined DNA evidence in their cases. Sadly, lack of advanced technology is not the only culprit in these wrongful convictions. Faulty language in previous bills has prevented the examination and use of certain pieces of DNA evidence. Changes in a new bill are set to fix that and there are several positive ramifications of such actions.
The current wording of the stipulations for DNA testing is somewhat contradictory and limiting. In short, the current terms state that it must be proven that DNA is present before a piece of evidence can be tested for DNA. This has proven to be very limiting in the past and has lead to wrongful convictions, especially pertaining to DNA evidence that is not clearly visible by the naked eye, such as sweat or saliva. The new Senate Bill 487 will allow court officials to grant DNA testing on items that show a likelihood of containing DNA evidence.
With proper biological testing in place, those who have been wrongfully convicted will have a second chance for redemption. You have probably seen court shows on television where individuals were proven innocent after new DNA evidence has been introduced.
That is not far from the truth or what can become reality. With all of the advancements in technology the way in which testing can be collected and extracted has advanced tremendously and as such can shed new light on old cases. However, with the current stipulations if the evidence is not easily viewable such efforts may not be allowed.
There have been 52 exonerations in Texas due to the efforts of the Innocent Project in obtaining DNA evidence that was not previously attainable. With new scientific machinery and the new bill, individuals who have maintained their plea of innocence even past their conviction may receive another chance to prove their innocence.
Serve True Justice
Not only could the new bill help to clear the name of those who have been wrongly convicted, it can also help to catch and convict the correct individuals. Biological evidence works both ways, in that it helps to prove that certain aspects are not related, as well as create connections between others. For instance, if there were a case where an individual was strangled by a rope and the rope was found and tested, it might contain the sweat or saliva of the true culprit. Once tested under the new bill, it could not only free an individual who’s DNA does not match, but it can also aid in the conviction of the individual who it does belong to. As such, Senate Bill 487 will help to bring true justice.
Some stand against the bill due to the costs that an increase in testing will inevitably bring. Though this is a true concern, it is understandable how others feel that the positive impact far outweighs the cost. What it really comes down to is the true price tag of justice in the judicial system.