Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Right to an Unfair Trial

"No Constitutional Right to DNA Testing for Convicts, Justices Rule"

Of course, what's wrong with this is that DNA testing is not a new right at all. It's the same old right we've had since the United States was founded (and before): the right to evidence. It's always been recognized as part of our right to a fair trial.

Do we not have the right to fingerprints, crime scene reconstructions, competent detective work? Do we not, in other words, have the right to expect the state to do whatever it reasonably can to produce evidence of our guilt or innocence? DNA is merely evidence, merely part of a competent police investigation. Any difference is not the creation of a new right, but a permutation of the same right. How new or expensive it is is irrelevant to the fundamental expectation of a free society that justice will be relentlessly served.

With it's tremendous ability to clarify guilt or innocence, DNA testing should be automatically used throughout the country in any case where there is genetically identifiable evidence --including those where someone has already been convicted. Frankly it is embarassing that the governments of 47 states can see that plainly but the highest court in the land cannot.

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