Friday, June 19, 2009

Obama AG opposes right to biological evidence

As a trial attorney, I've always looked forward to the coming reality of those science fiction "truth machines". Remember Capt. Pike in the Star Trek pilot episode? On trial for violating Star Fleet orders, Pike is hooked up to an alien machine, which projects the events in his memories onto a computer screen. No more juries or judges guessing at the truth.

We're not there yet. But, with biological testing, we're getting close.

Of course, there's no good reason to ever deny or reject or refuse to allow biological evidence. If we can say with certainty whether someone is guilty or innocent, there's absolutely no excuse not to do so.

Unless you're on the Supreme Court.

"The U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday that a convicted rapist has no constitutional right to test biological evidence used at his trial in the state of Alaska years earlier, leaving it to states to decide when prisoners get access to genetic evidence that might prove their innocence."

In other words, states may chose to "win" criminal trials, notwithstanding that a "win" could result in the punishment of objectively, scientifically certain, innocent wrongfully accused defendants.

In doing so, the Supreme Court reversed "a federal appeals court [which] said he had a right to conduct the test."

And, the Obama administration? "The Obama administration, picking up the argument first made by the Bush administration, urged the court to reject the appeals court ruling . . ."

I thought they promised to be pro-science.

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