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Supreme Court: You Get No DNA Tests to Prove Innocence! You'Ve Been Convicted Already

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: crime, U.S.SupremeCourt, InnocenceProject, WilliamOsborne, TroyDavis, DarrellLomax, LethalInjection, DeathPenalty, DNATest, maryneal )

- 3678 days ago -
The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 against prisoners having rights to post-conviction DNA testing that could prove innocence of crimes for which they were sentenced to prison terms or execution. SHUT UP ABOUT TESTS AND STICK YOUR ARM OUT, GUILTY OR NOT!


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Mary N (183)
Saturday June 20, 2009, 10:45 pm
ISN'T JUSTICE IN A MESS IN THE U.S.A.? The results we have been waiting for since March when the Supreme Court accepted review of the case of William Osborne, an Alaska man who says he is innocent and wants to prove it. The Innocence Project presented his case to the Supreme Court. There are hundreds of prisoners who hoped the Supreme Court would establish their right to prove their innocence. The DNA tests were not available when many of them were convicted, and some have been in prison for decades.


Here is the article:

Supreme Court DNA Ruling: Prisoners have no right to post-conviction DNA testing
Study Shows the Death Penalty Is No Crime Deterrent

THE RESULTS ARE IN. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 against prisoners having a right to post-conviction DNA testing that could be used to prove their innocence of crimes for which they were sentenced to prison terms or execution. Secondly, the world's top criminologists agree that capital punishment does not deter crime, according to a study by Chicago's Northwestern University.

More information on the Supreme Court case regagarding DNA testing is available at this link:

Supreme Court's DNA Deliberations, by Mary Neal

The results of Northwestern's study seems to leave no reason to therefore risk executing possibly innocent people like Troy Davis and Darrell Lomax, two men who were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in a flawed justice system that was proved unreliable by 371 exonerations in the last few decades.

Among criminologists who based their assessment on empirical research, 88 percent concluded that capital punishment is useless in lowering murder rates.

Below are excerpts from the news report that is available in its entirety at the link.


Published: Thursday June 18, 2009

WASHINGTON The death penalty fails to deter crime or lower murder rates, according to an overwhelming majority of top criminologists questioned for a U.S. university study published this week. Just over 88 percent of 79 experts from the American Society of Criminology said they did not think the death penalty "acts as a deterrent," said researchers at Northwestern University near Chicago.

"Our survey indicates that the vast majority of the world's top criminologists believe that the empirical research has revealed (the) deterrence hypothesis as a myth," the researchers said.

On whether abolishing the death penalty could affect homicides significantly, 87 percent replied in the negative little change to the 86.5 percent in the 1996 study.

In the United States 37 people were executed in 2008 and 32 were put to death in the first six months of this year.



Strong reaction followed the U.S. Supreme court's decision on June 18 denying post-conviction DNA testing being held as a right.

Innocence Project : In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that our client, William Osborne, will not get DNA testing that could prove his innocence. The court ultimately ruled that the finality of a conviction is more important than making sure the right person was convicted. Todays decision is deeply disappointing and flawed.

Los Angeles Times: The Supreme Court's DNA ruling: Wrong on rights. The majority opinion by five conservative justice belittles the protections of the Bill of Rights.,0,2229462.story

Justice John Paul Stevens' dissenting opinion: "The state's failure to provide Osborne access to the evidence constitutes arbitrary action that offends basic principles of due process."

ACLU: ACLU argues that the Constitution bars the state from imprisoning someone who is actually innocent, even assuming the trial was otherwise fair, and that the state has an obligation to turn over DNA evidence upon request because of its unique capacity to establish actual innocence.


Objections to the death penalty include:

~ It targets the poor
~ It is racist
~ It kills the innocent
~ It is barbaric
~ It does not deter crime
~ It is expensive (Taxpayers pay $90,000 per year per condemned inmate over and above incarceration costs for inmates in maximum security prisons)

Troy Davis supporters frequently cite the first three objections regarding his conviction for the 1989 shooting death of a Savannah, Georgia police officer. Those objections also relate to Darrell Lomax, a San Quentin death row inmate of 15 years. Davis and Lomax went through the entire court process as well as appellate court. Some people might believe that is proof of their guilt, but it is not. Hundreds of people went through the court process and were wrongly convicted. There were 371 innocent people exonerated since 1970, including 240 who were freed by DNA evidence.

Some innocent inmates who lacked the means and/or were denied the opportunity to prove their innocence were executed. Many other wrongly convicted persons are spending their lives as prisoners. That nearly happened to Joseph Fears, who spent 25 years in an Illinois prison for a rape that DNA proved he never did. Fears was finally released in February. He is a senior citizen now, but the testing method that was used to prove Fears' innocence was available 20 years ago. DNA exonerations are published by the Innocence Project at this link:

In many cases, DNA evidence is unavailable, but a new trial is warranted based on the evidence or lack thereof. Many people hold that this is true in Troy Davis' case. Nathson Fields, 55, became the 131st person to be exonerated from death row after a retrial of his case in Illinois resulted in an acquittal on April 8, 2009. Information regarding innocent people who almost perished in a flawed justice system is available by the Death Penalty Information Organization at this link:

The NAACP announced that it plans to launch a campaign against racism in death penalty sentencing at its centennial celebration in New York in July. Statistics show that African Americans are more likely to be sentenced to death than other races, a phenomenon that may be tied to poverty as much as racisim. Public defenders are used in most capital cases against African American defendants. Sufficient time and resources are usually uavailable for their defense. For instance, (a) Troy Davis' appeals attorney was siumltaneously assigned to 79 other cases for indigent defendants, and (b) California's budget for public denfenders was so inadequate that Darrell Lomax was forced share an attorney with a man who was a witness against him.

Much has been written about Davis' murder conviction, which was based on witness evidence. Seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis have since withdrawned or tainted their testimony, and there are good reasons to doubt testimony by the two remaining witnesses. However, the sad truth is that there are many more condemned men across America, black and white, who also have strong cases for innocence. Some have been denied the right to post-conviction DNA testing that might prove they are not guilty. Others, like Darrell Lomax, were convicted based on circumstantial evidence that falls far short of "guilty beyond reasonable doubt."

Many prisoners, their families, and prisoner rights advocates were encouraged when the Supreme Court agreed to review the case of Alaska Inmate, William Osborne. The High Court's decision determined that post-conviction DNA testing will not be available for all prisoners; the right to test will continue to be decided on a state-by-state basis. All but four states allow for post-conviction DNA testing, with Mississippi and Oregon being the last two that passed such laws. However, some states only allow post-conviction DNA testing for condemned persons. With that restriction, Joseph Fears would still be serving time today for a rape he did not commit.

In Osborne's case, Alaska argured that allowing Osborne to conduct post-conviction DNA testing on evidence that was used to convict him would cause other prisoners to expect the right to also test their evidence just to prove their innocence, and it would create administrative problems for Alaska. Osborne's attorneys argued that it violated Osborne's Constitutional rights to withhold a testing method that would conclusively prove his innocence and restore his liberty and persuit of happiness. Obsorne's test was to be paid for by the Innocence Project, not state funds. This week in a 5 to 4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Alaska. No Constitutional right to use DNA evidence to prove one's innocence was recognized by the Court. Expediency trumped justice. Executions and long-term prison sentences can proceed uninterrupted by the inconvenience of inmates' DNA tests, and the court process will remain streamlined as Alaska hoped. The Innocence Project Resource Center has more information at this link:

Darrell Lomax's death penalty case is unlike Troy Davis' in that forensic evidence is available, but NONE of it points to Lomax as being the guilty party. Nevertheless, Lomax was sentenced to death. The condemned man wrote:

My name is Darrell Lomax and I have been wrongly incarcerated on death row at San Quentin State prison for over 14 years. I was convicted even though . . .

1. I passed a gunshot residu test
2. I have an alibi
3. the eye witness said it wasn't me
4. the fingerprints on the gun weren't mine
5. and it was found in someone else's car
6. the footprint wasn't mine
7. my witnesses were never called
8. and I couldn't afford a lawyer so I had to share a public defender with the man who made a deal to testify against me.
9. When the situation with the public defender was discovered he was replaced by a former DA who made no effort to find the witnesses for my defense.

A fact sheet regarding Lomax's case is available at this link (pdf-file):

The study's authors said that if the average time between sentencing and execution was reduced from its current 8-10 years, "there is a reason to expect that the death penalty would deter more homicides than it does today." That is an unproved assersion. What is certain is that most people who were exonerated had spent decades on death row. With quicker executions, those innocent men would be dead.

More information about Troy Davis' case and the NAACP's campaign against racism in death penalty sentencing is available at this link:

NAACP Launches Campaign to Save Troy Davis and Address DP Prejudice

Darrell Lomax's strong case of innocence is presented on a website at this link:

Free Darrell


More articles by this author are available at

Your feedback is invited in the rich text comment field below.

Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Phyllis P (232)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 7:05 am
I too am circulating this information for DNA testing. It's a no brainer. My God, why imprison or execute someone when a simple test would make sure you at least have the right person? Another inexcusable over site by our "not for the people" system. Thanks Mary

Faith M (161)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 9:16 am
Statistics show that African Americans are more likely to be sentenced to death than other races, a phenomenon that may be tied to poverty as much as racisim.
my response:
Yes poverty most of the time is the reason.Poverty is the reason much is perpetuated on the poor.

The study's authors said that if the average time between sentencing and execution was reduced from its current 8-10 years, "there is a reason to expect that the death penalty would deter more homicides than it does today."
my response:

people who kill people most often do not value life not even there own so to say that the threat of death is a deterrent is ludicrous because in order for that to work they would have to care if they live or die.I can tell U that those who kill others are fully aware that they can die and do not care-People assume others think like them and are afraid of dying-not so. It is usually the innocent that are most wanting to live. There are exceptions to all rules- however as a base line truth this is so.
In psychiatry people are admitted to the hospital if they are suicidal or homicidal and this is very important because some people who kill are unable to take their own life because of the rage they feel so they lash out at others and many times a cop assisted suicide is what the end result will be when a person locks himself in a house with one who kills another usually has deep issues that have remained unaddressed and erupted into violence either against ones self or others.

In Osborne's case, Alaska argured that allowing Osborne to conduct post-conviction DNA testing on evidence that was used to convict him would cause other prisoners to expect the right to also test their evidence just to prove their innocence, and it would create administrative problems for Alaska.
My response:
This is the heart of the matter right here.The administrative problems it will cause is lawsuits to the state involved for wrongful convictions. that is what they are calling administrative problems.That is the reason they were not interested in allowing the DNA to be tested because it is about the lawsuit that would follow-believe this they looked at the case and decided that he was most likely innocent and then decided that a new trial would most likely prove it then looked at the political lives of the people who had convicted him and then looked at how much money they would have to pay out if this was proven and the ramifications of having to do this in a "justice??" system that is overloaded and does not want to pay out money -the scandal alone would endanger politicians jobs and the Taxpayers would have to pay for new trials and then there are the budget problems...... do U get the idea? this mans guilt or innocence is irrelevant to them and at the bottom of the list of priorities... Money is always at the top.

the right to test will continue to be decided on a state-by-state basis.
my response
This is where it should be. even though a federal blanket kind of law would eliminate differences in law across the board either we stand by the constitution regarding states rights or we don't. the true racism in America is not about skin color but elitism/classism - those who have money and a good education and those that don't and when you look at who has the money and their skin color you get the answers. last but not least there is the ever present lack of love for themselves and others -their fear being the primary motivator for much of what they do-fear of being wrong-fear of the consequences for doing the wrong thing- shame for incarcerating an innocent person and the blame that would come from the admittance or proving of that fact -it is awareness needed here regarding mental illness and what that means and how it manifests in so many different ways . To sum it up -our justice system is broken and needs to be thrown out and a new method installed that would bring our court systems into the present-but alas that would cost money and where does the money come from???- the tax payers. would u pay higher taxes to do this -I bet U will say no -however there is a solution that would not raise taxes but they will not vote it in -.Fire all those in Congress and the senate and those that currently hold to the two party system(Creator knows we need new people with different ways of thinking in ALL elected positions from the lowest to the highest) and reduce the amount those in public office get paid yearly to the average that the person from their state makes in a year -(Politics was never designed to be a profession but it has become so) then POOF! states would have the money to update our court systems with out raising taxes- (Or they could just create money has needed for this like the FED does or perhaps they could magicly locate those missing trillions of dollors of our money missing in the bailouts) --One way this would help is they could have enough decent public defenders (then people could actually get a decent lawyer)-they -(The state) could actually pay public defenders fairly well and there would be enough public Defenders to handle the cases well- I know I am living in a dream world with that one - but it was nice for a moment

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 12:29 pm
Thanks, Faith. Keep in mind, please, that Osborne's DNA test was going to be paid for by the Innocence Project. It was never a matter of creating an expense for the State.

Secondly, it is my understanding that only those persons who were convicted and sentenced to prison prior to the development of advanced DNA testing methods would be affected. People convicted since that time presumably already had tests on their evidence. This would affect people like Joseph Fears, who was released from an Illinois prison because of DNA proof of innocence after serving 25 years for a rape he did not do.

Secondly, a DNA test costs very little. Keeping people incarcerated costs around $50,000 per year for EACH INMATE in the general prison population. EACH death row inmate costs taxpayers an ADDITIONAL $90,000 per year. If a 30 year old prisoner is in for life, it can cost taxpayers $3 MILLION.

Any test that relieves taxpayers of paying $3 MILLION or more to imprison an innocent person is a savings to the public, not an additional cost.

Maybe that is why prosecutors fight so hard to keep potentially innocent people from having DNA testing. Prison profiteers would lose millions on each lifer or condemned person who was proved innocent an freed.

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 12:37 pm
When it comes to paying restitution to the wrongly convicted, that amount would not rise to the level of the cost of continually incarcerating inmates who are innocent. $3 MILLION per year for each lifer is about what it costs now, and much more than that for condemned prisoners and sick inmates.

Officials should set a limit of "X" dollars per year of wrongful incarceration that each innocent person suffered. I am sure the main objective for wrongly incarcerted persons is to win their freedom. For some, it will mean their freedom from death row.

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 12:47 pm

Since the Supreme Court ruled as it did, the Innocence Project is focusing on getting post-conviction DNA testing passed in all 50 states. Four states have NO provisions for post-conviction DNA testing, and some allow it ONLY for death sentences.

Sometimes, poor people who are innocent plea bargain to avoid execution. They may not be condemned to death, but they deserve to prove their innocence, too. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BELOW. I would appreciate it if someone would make this a live link.



Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 1:52 pm
Is there some technical trouble? This post does not show at MJ where I placed it. Thx.

Maggie Amaya (201)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 2:02 pm
How odd that story shows as being submitted only a few minutes ago! I noted the story hours ago. Thanks for sending me the story, Mary! I crossposted on myspace as a blog and will post it on my website and facebook, as well.

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 2:11 pm
Thank you, Maggie. Prisoners are important commodities and some earn money every time the prison gates slam behind a person - innocent or guilty. Therefore, it is hard to post news about injustice in the "justice" system on the Internet sometimes.

The prison industry costs taxpayers $50 BILLION PER YEAR, so that is plenty of incentive. Unfortunately, it is easy for people to get in trouble, but hard to get out, even if they are innocent and a simple test would prove it.

It would be hard to understand why anyone would want to keep potentially innocent people behind bars and some on Death Row unless you know about the money angle. The Bible teaches that for every evil that is done, you should look for the money trail - THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL.

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 2:16 pm
Thank you Care2 News Network for this valuable forum to bring justice issues to the attention of the public.

Thank you Care2 friends and community for pushing this important news to the front page. We need to let our elected officials know that WE CARE ABOUT JUSTICE -- WE HAVE EMPATHY FOR INNOCENT PEOPLE BEHIND BARS, LIKE JOSEPH FEARS WHO WAS RELEASED AFTER 25 YEARS FOR A RAPE HE NEVER DID!

We want the innocent people freed, and the wrongdoers prosecuted.

We do not care about saving prosecutors' careers. We think prosecutors who love justice need to be in those positions, not people who block DNA tests that could exonerate the innocent.

Prosecutors, we would value you if you agree to tests and stand up for righteousness. We would vote for you. We would help promote your careers. We want right-minded people in offices, not folks who don't care about right and wrong. You will not lose our respect by reversing yourselves. You would gain it.

Locan Sleeping-Squirrel (209)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
I've seen examples of it before but somehow I guess I always thought we could count on the Supremes to favor Justice over vengeance. It's a brave new world. Sadly noted. Thank you Mary.

Patricia F (9)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 4:09 pm
Should the rule that says they are innocent till proven guilty somewhat apply even if it is after the fact.If the DNA testing were available at the time of the trial it would have been used .If some other way came forward to prove innocence it would be look at and if it proved to be real it would be accepted and the ruling would be overturned.I do not see where this is any different.Everyone is supposed to receive a fair trial and sometimes that mean reviewing the evidence. I hope they so not give up the fight not just for themselves but for every innocent person out there that either has been or will be tried .However I am not totally against the DP either for brutal or hannis acts of crime.I also do not understand the amount of time on death row.Why should it take so many years before it is carried out costing tax payers millions each year.I should think one year is long enough That gives them one year to appeal with any new evidence they may find.After that it is is a waste of time.Personally if I was sentenced to death I would not want to wait around all that time just thinking about it.I would rather just get it over with instead of wasting time behind bars knowing I will never get out alive anyway.

. (0)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 4:26 pm
noted and signed thank you

Roseann d (178)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 4:28 pm
I can pretty much guess the good for nothings that voted against it. Any Bush appointee should be null and void based on his illigetimate presidency. Kick them all to the curb.

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 4:56 pm

For Mary:

Innocence Project Petition to have Post-Conviction DNA Testing available in all 50 states:

LaJana P (97)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 5:00 pm
petition signed and news noted. Thanks Mary

Joycey B (750)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 5:02 pm
Gladly signed. Noted with anger and disgust. Thanks Mary.

Help Us Spread the Word!
Fill in the form below to forward the petition for DNA access to family, friends and colleagues with a personal note from you.


Jeanne Devey (14)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 5:48 pm
For whatever reason, the justice system cannot get things straight! Everyone does not deserve to rot in jail!! DNA proves many times that "this system" is terribly mistaken and has been broken for sometime! We are living in the 21st century, not the 1st century!!
Jeanne D.

liz c (827)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 6:16 pm
Noted, and petition signed. Thank you.

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 6:29 pm
Thank all of you for your comments. Thank you, Just Carole, for putting the petition by the Innocence Project on your comment as a live link.

Patricia, please take a look at a very PARTIAL LIST of the people who would be dead now if executions were hurried:

Troy Davis - hoping for new trial - Georgia death row - 17 years

Darrell Lomax - hoping for new trial - San Quentin - 15 years

Rolando Cruz - Exonerated though DNA testing in 1995 a decade after being sentenced to death in Illinois

Charles Irvin Fain - Exonerated through DNA testing in 2001 more than 17 years after being sentenced to death in Idaho

Ray Krone - Exonerated through DNA testing in 2002 a decade after being sentenced to death in Arizona

Ryan Matthews - Exonerated through DNA testing in 2004 five years after being sentenced to death in Louisiana

Curtis McCarty - Exonerated through DNA testing in 2007 21 years after being sentenced to death in Oklahoma

Earl Washington - Exonerated through DNA testing in 2000 17 years after being sentenced to death in Virginia

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 6:36 pm

Mary, It was my pleasure to help in that small way.

Even more, I want to thank you for putting me in touch with the Innocence Project, something I'd been meaning to do for some time.

That said, of course, I was proud to add my name to the petition.

Bless you!

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 6:43 pm
You are welcome, Carole. We should all support the Innocence Project, Amnesty International, ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, the Death Penalty Information Institute, and other organizations that try to make equal justice become a reality in America. It is certainly a long way from being that now.

All of these organizations are available online, and I encourage each person to look them up and sign up for their newsletters. The newsletters are free and will be sent to your email boxes.

It would be nice if we could make a financial contribution, but even if we cannot do that at this time, it helps when organizations that are addressing social and justice issues can boast of a large membership. Large numbers of people reading an organization's newsletter help boost their relevance when they put forth opinions.

For the same reason, I ask that you all join our group, ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL here at Care2 among the human/civil rights groups.


Carole Sarcinello (338)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 7:12 pm
It makes NO SENSE why any person of conscience would NOT sign the petition which could free many prisoners unjustly imprisoned -- or even to put their minds at ease to verify that the RIGHT person is incarcerated, should the test prove such.

H Nick H (1826)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 8:10 pm
So much for the right wing republicans cry of "activist judges." This is a result of the conservitive right judges in the superiem court, who don't really care about the average US Citizen. Now, if you are rich or well connected, then that is a different story.

Isn't it about time for change? Keep the bas__ards out of any office and stop them from undermineing Obama.

If not now, we will soon return to the last 8 years.

Dale Husband (123)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 8:34 pm
Stop voting for conservative Presidents who will then appoint conservative Supreme Court justices that will undo rights for those who only wish to have a fair chance to prove their innocense! For every innocent person who is imprisoned or executed, a guilty one goes free. This is so wrong!!!

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 8:42 pm
ANNOUNCEMENT - I just received this email in case anyone would like to participate in a march for wrongfully convicted persons.

Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 19:21:49 -0700
Subject: a nationwide freedom march on behalf of all wrongfully convicted people


We are in the process of organizing a nationwide freedom march on
behalf of all wrongfully convicted people. The march will be held on
June 27, 2009 at 10:00am C.S.T. Groups will march to the steps of each
state's capitol building and hold signs and banners with faces of
wrongfully convicted people. Detailed information is available at

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 8:49 pm
Noted/signed/thanks Mary and Carole

Mary N (183)
Sunday June 21, 2009, 8:51 pm
Thanks for commenting, Nick and Dale and everyone. Your input on justice issues is very important. It shows that people want equal justice in America. I thought we were much closer to having that than we are, but we are not as far away as we may think we are. All it takes is for many voters to speak out in support of justice like you are doing. Thanks so much for CARING!

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 12:57 am
PLEASE, EVERYONE, SEE THIS VIDEO. It is very inspiring!

mary f (200)
Monday June 22, 2009, 2:10 am
thanks mary signed

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:52 am
Here is the important thing to remember - BLIND JUSTICE.

How can prosecutors, judges, and government decision makers be blind to their own stock portfolios? Everyone wants their net worth to GROW.

People in those positions should not be prison profiteers, and neither should their spouses (so they won't shift the prison stock to their spouse). They should have to show their stock portfolios and divest themselves of prison stock. Then they can act fair in the courtrooms. I think that is the key.


Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:10 am
One should also look for any prison stock belonging to the minor children of judges, prosecutors, and decision makers (even some defense attorneys - there may be an explanation about attorneys who lose cases).

People who make decisions about who goes to prison and how long they must stay and legislators who decide on incarceration procedures SHOULD NOT HAVE INVESTMENTS IN PRISON PROFITEERING, or it will never get any more just in our justice system than it is presently. In fact, it is likely to worsen as they recruit more lawmakers and judges and prosecutors. That's the truth. Think about it.

Kathy W (299)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:12 am
I too will post this on facebook Mary, with link to petition.

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:23 am
That is good, Kathy. Thank you.

The Innocence Project is going to have to take this thing state by state, and having lots of signatures from every state will help, I am sure. Most states already have testing rights, but ONLY FOR CONDEMNED PEOPLE in some cases. That leaves out everybody else. What innocent person wants to spend 10 years to life in the slammer while the guilty party walks free?

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 4:51 am
Thank you again, Just Carole, for placing the link live on this site for people to sign the petition at the Innocence Project.

Carole, I enjoy your Shares, but cannot see how to leave you a comment. There is no comment input box on my view.

Brian Niles (144)
Monday June 22, 2009, 5:02 am
If we the presumed guilty can be put in prison with DNA evidence, then the people in prison should be allowed to have their DNA tested to prove they are innocent!

Nancy M (147)
Monday June 22, 2009, 8:17 am
This is appalling. I will be sure to pass this on.

sue M (184)
Monday June 22, 2009, 8:34 am
Racism is alive and well in good old America and it comes from the top! The Supreme Court as a mater of fact. How dare they! These people need to be put in jail for abusing our rights and our trust. They have taken an oath to uphold our Constitution and serve the people not put an innocent to death.
The problem besides it targeting blacks, is that throughout time when we have given away our rights for our fellow citizens it backfires and it applies to the rest of us. This is not a black only problem it is everyone's problem and the longer we stay silent the more we will see this kind of abuse to us as a group.

J S (0)
Monday June 22, 2009, 1:06 pm
This must be the same Supreme Court that gave the presidency of the USA to GWBush in 2000. Another broken system in this nation. We must get active and tell Congress and yes, the Supreme Court that we expect non-partisan and reasonable decisions from them. Since when can a nation that proclaims to be humane and fair and the shining example for democracy tp the world deny a prisoner a chance to prove he is innocent?

Carole Sarcinello (338)
Monday June 22, 2009, 1:13 pm

What makes this even more ridiculous is the fact that the costs of DNA testing -- versus the costs of unnecessary incarceration -- are much less!

(Think about it: Maury "paternity test" Povich regularly tests guests, and gets results within 48 hours -- but, our government doesn't see the merits of doing the same to release innocent people.)

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 1:30 pm
I have read news accounts reporting that judges, the NAACP, and others are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Ct. on behalf of Troy Davis to allow him back into federal court with his case. But the High Court already proved that the majority of justices don't care whether innocent people suffer or not.

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 1:43 pm
If many hundreds of people are innocent in prisons across the nation, freeing them would mean big savings for taxpayers, but somebody would lose.

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 1:47 pm
Just Carole, Mr. Osborne did not even ask the State of Alaska to pay for his test - the Innocence Project was going to do it. All he asked Alaska to do is to give the lab access to the evidence that the State used to prosecute him so it could be tested. It would not have costed Alaska a dime.

Gillian M (218)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:42 pm
I agree, just send someone to jail for a crime, doesn't matter who, just as long as someone is convicted of the crime. This helps improve the crime statistics as more crimes have been solved.

Whoops, this means that justice isn't being done or even seen to be done, 2 of the most important requirements of any court. Justice can only be done is if the real guilty person is in prison and to ensure that that happens then, if appropriate, DNA testing must be done to confirm their guilt or innocence. If found innocent then the police must look for the true guilty person but I suppose that the police don't want their arrest figures changed nor will the DA want to be proved wrong. This appears to me to be the real reason behind the court's decision, not the sentencing the real guilty perpetrator! I'm appalled and hope that sanity and justice will truly prevail.

Mary N (183)
Monday June 22, 2009, 3:55 pm


Jim Phillips (3247)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 2:20 pm
Petition signed.

TY, Just "C" & Mary.

Wednesday June 24, 2009, 2:24 pm
thank you for this ....It's about time someone brings this to light.... This is OUR court system and they keep on failing... You would think that we would learn from our mistakes....ha

Tierney G (381)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 2:52 pm
Signed Petition! This is outrageous! This is not justice it is illegal as far as I am concerned!!

Mary N (183)
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 9:12 pm
I believe what we are witnessing is one of those "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" situations. All judges are appointed by someone.

Mary N (183)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 2:08 am
The economic crisis is hard on most of us, but it may force officials to review how money could be saved by revising the criminal justice system.

I just read that California could save $1 billion in five years by repealing the death penalty.

Think of what it could mean financially to allow DNA tests to inmates who applied for testing and finding hundreds of people are innocent. That could happen, because guilty inmates probably don't apply for testing often.

Perhaps if the economic crisis continues, lawmakers will have to give consideration to the financial savings that could be had by being more just and humane.

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Ari Kolman (63)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 10:26 am
Im sickened and disgusted! Im revolted, repulsed, repelled, offended & appalled! Im sickened and disgusted! Im revolted, repulsed, repelled, offended & appalled! WE MUST NEVER STAY SILENT.

Mary N (183)
Thursday June 25, 2009, 1:43 pm
Azi, the only good thing that is coming from this is that people have a heightened awareness about the condition of our "justice" system.

It is likely that many innocent people are in prison. Others are suffering excessive sentencing, such as the Scott Sisters. The two black women were reportedly sentenced to life for the theft of $11 in Mississippi. They claim innocence and have already served 14.5 years imprisonment. If they serve their entire sentences, taxpayers will pay millions for this.

The penal system is necessary. Prisons and jails are very important because crime cannot be tolerated. But when many correctional facilities became profit-making enterprises, justice suffered. Businesspersons do not want to see their stock disappear - innocent or guilty.

It is significant that 2/3 of the nation's 2.5 million prisoners are incarcerated for non-violent offenses amd that hundreds of thousands of prisoners are mental patients who should be treated in hospitals or their communities, depending on their offenses. Instead, hospitals were downsized or closed and the residents evicted. Most acute mental patients then wound up homeless and/or imprisoned for offenses ranging from simple vagrancy to murder. They needed care.

The Innocence Project reports that many more people are joining their effort to provide testing for inmates. Please sign the petition to make DNA testing available in all 50 states:


Geri M (59)
Wednesday July 8, 2009, 8:33 pm
When in the justice system prisioners are required to have DNA testing, they should be allowed the results.

Mary N (183)
Thursday July 9, 2009, 5:02 am
Thank you, Geri, for sharing your viewpoint. Everything that can be used against a person who is caught in the justice system is used. The things that could help them are apparently not always used. That is because of prison profiteering.

According to the Department of Justice, the Federal Government spent $36,248,000,000 on criminal justice in 2006, while local governments spent $109,205,351,000. That is over $145 Billion annually that comes from tax money. Hundreds of millions more are generated each year through prison work projects. Crime and punishment is probably one of America's largest industries, and many jails and prisons are privatized now. Therefore, private prison owners and investors would lose money if people are exonerated. That is probably one of the reasons why post-DNA testing was not approved for everyone in every situation.

Some states only have it for condemned persons, and some states don't have it at all, but only three refuse inmates any rights to DNA testing whatsoever, and Alaska is one of those, where Palin was governor. I always felt that folks who could take pleasure in killing animals have little regard for life period. Maybe that is so.

Please sign the petition for DNA testing in all 50 states for everyone who desires it - no innocent prisoners, whether condemned to death or sentenced for a short time, should be denied the right to clear their names. Those sentenced to execution want to live, and those sentenced to even short terms in prison need to have their records cleared to maximize their employment opportunities and know that they will not forever be punished and labeled a felon for a crime they did not do.


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