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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 21, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Right to DNA evidence

Supreme Court uses slavery-era reasoning to deny DNA tests

This is absurd [“Court to convicts: no right to DNA,” News, June 19]. Science finally comes up with DNA technology that can absolutely determine guilt or innocence in thousands of criminal cases, and the Supreme Court, ultimate arbiter of criminal justice, says innocent people wrongly convicted without recourse to this phenomenal instrument of judicial precision may not be granted access to it. Thus, they spend years of their lives in the indescribable hell of the prison system, guilty of nothing.

Even more chilling is the assertion that to subject this issue to the interference of a constitutional mandate would wrongfully interfere with the rights of the states to legislate independently. This is precisely the argument framed by the slave states against the abolition of slavery.

At bottom, the issue is quite simple. Any procedure that will protect the innocent from punishment belongs in the trial process. Any legal writ that interferes is wrong.

— Harold R. Pettus, Everett

Comments | More in crime/justice

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