As you may recall, ever since the BBA convened its Task Force to Prevent
Wrongful Convictions in 2008, and published its seminal report, Getting
It Right, in late 2009 -- calling on lawmakers to provide post
conviction access to DNA evidence -- this has been a top public policy priority
of the BBA. Massachusetts is one of just two states in the country (Oklahoma is
the other) without any law granting post-conviction DNA access.
Good news! Following a June 8th hearing before the Joint Committee on the
Judiciary, S753/H 2165, An Act to Provide Access to Scientific and Forensic
Analysis, has been reported out of the Judiciary Committee favorably.
Members of the BBA Task Force, David E. Meier, Martin F. Murphy, David Siegel
and Gregory Massing all testified at a hearing at Gardner Auditorium. The
bill, filed by Senator Cynthia Creem in the Senate and Representative John
Fernandes in the House, allows convicted people to seek DNA testing on evidence
that could prove their innocence. The bill is now being reviewed by the Ways
& Means Committees.
Specifics of DNA Legislation
This legislation creates a straightforward procedure for obtaining
post-conviction forensic and scientific testing of evidence in cases of possible
wrongful conviction. It also establishes a process for prosecutors to
ensure the reliability and materiality of this evidence in identifying the
perpetrator, and for judges to conduct a focused and discrete inquiry to assess