De villa postconviction and everything else in the world
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De Villa, Postconviction And Everything Else In The World. Chris Asplen, Esquire Smith Alling Lane Stetson School of Law January 23, 2006. An Historical Perspective. US experience with the abuse of Habeas Corpus Appeals

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De villa postconviction and everything else in the world

De Villa, Postconviction And Everything Else In The World

Chris Asplen, Esquire

Smith Alling Lane

Stetson School of Law

January 23, 2006


An historical perspective

An Historical Perspective

  • US experience with the abuse of Habeas Corpus Appeals

    • US Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act limited abuses of the appellate process

  • Tremendous opposition by prosecutors to Postconviction DNA applications

    • Fear of the “floodgates” opening

  • US DOJ publishes the report “Convicted by Juries Exonerated by Science”

    • Examines 24 DNA Exonerations


An historical perspective1

An Historical Perspective

  • US Attorney General, Janet Reno orders the establishment of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence

    • Commission publishes

      • Postconviction DNA: Recommendations for Handling Requests

      • Model legislation for States

  • Small number of prosecutors implement prosecutor initiated postconviction DNA testing


An historical perspective2

An Historical Perspective

  • National District Attorney’s Association officially endorses postconviction DNA testing where appropriate

  • US Attorney General, John Ashcroft eliminates prosecutor initiated DNA project

  • President George W. Bush initiates $800,000,000 project and includes some postconviction DNA testing


An historical perspective of the scientific issues

An Historical Perspectiveof the Scientific Issues

  • First there was RFLP

    • Of limited use for postconviction purposes

      • Evidence was usually old

      • Evidence was usually degraded

  • Then came PCR !

    • Now, older and more degraded biological material could be analyzed

    • Postconviction testing became relevant

  • Then came greater database utilization


So what s the big issue

So What’s the Big Issue?

The value of finality

V

The exonerative capability of the technology


How do we evaluate a case what is the relevancy of the potential dna result

How Do We Evaluate a Case?What is the Relevancy of the Potential DNA Result?

Exclusion = Exoneration

Exclusion = Nothing


Reasonable minds can differ on the relevancy of a postconviction dna result

Reasonable minds can differ on the Relevancy of a Postconviction DNA Result

Exclusion = Exoneration

Grey Area where reasonable minds will differ

Exclusion = Nothing


A framework for analysis

A Framework for Analysis

  • Category One - Biological evidence was collected and exists and an exclusionary result would constitute an exoneration

  • Category Two - Biological evidence was collected and exists and exclusionary results would support petitioner’s claim – but reasonable persons might disagree if the results were exonerative


5 categories of evaluation continued

5 Categories of Evaluation(continued)

  • Category Three - Biological evidence was collected and exists but favorable tests would be inconclusive

  • Category Four - Biological evidence was never collected or cannot be found or was destroyed or was preserved in a way that permits analysis

  • Category Five - A request for DNA testing is frivolous


What else is happening

What Else is Happening

  • Biogeographical Diversity testing

    • Solving crimes

    • Identifying Bodies

  • Physical Characteristic testing

    • UK Kingdom already using it

    • The Netherlands has legislated it

    • US is researching it

  • Faster, Better, Cheaper testing

    • Chip technology

    • Lab on wheels with satellite link up to database.

    • SNPs


What else is happening1

What Else is Happening

  • Database Expansion

    • US – Federal law now allows for the the up loading of arrestee profiles

      • States will now begin to pass arrestee legislation

      • More states will also expand to most offenses for post conviction

    • UK Kingdom already databasing all “recordable offenses – forever

    • Many countries in the process of developing databases

      • China

      • India

  • International Connectivity

    • Interpol’s DNA Gateway

    • Europe’s Schegen Treaty Connectivity scheme

  • Every country has only ever expanded its database


Recognizing the correlation between databases and exonerations

Recognizing the correlation between Databases and Exonerations

“The bill will allow us to store, retrieve and use a DNA fingerprinting database of convicts and criminals. It is the need of the hour because the finality of court judgments pertaining to criminal cases is being questioned,“

Seyed Ehtesham Hasnain, Director of CDFD and member-secretary of the DNA Profiling Advisory Council.


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