31 August, 2010

DNA testing for proving innocence too.......

A thought from Dr G V Rao, DNA Expert in over 1200 cases.
drgvrao@hotmail.com                                                       Phone: 9849006955
There is an immense necessity in India for a bill to create a commission to review aspects of the criminal justice system and recommend bi-partisan, consensus-based reform for post conviction DNA testing where conviction has been based on biological evidence.  Our Police Investigation system has serious flaws that must be fixed, and this effort provides a neat, bipartisan approach to examining these issues and recommending reform. Wrongful convictions are one of the many critical issues that this Commission could address since DNA testing has been overturned in more than 250 wrongful convictions in the USA, and I'm sure that there are more innocent people behind bars in India.
This commission could help identify why wrongful convictions happen and recommend how they can be prevented. This is critical for ensuring public safety and confidence and preventing future wrongful convictions. In many states of USA viz., Texas, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Wisconsin etc., law allows prisoners to apply for DNA testing in cases where it has the potential to prove innocence, and if testing is granted it will be paid for by the state. Such a bill is badly needed, as our nation has not taken such a comprehensive look at the criminal justice system since the Independence.

This commission should be comprised of highly respected figures and experts from throughout the justice system.  We can follow the example of USA wherein and other states have created similar commissions that have led to concrete improvements in their state systems of justice. I urge you to take a role in the legal fraternity to help enact this legislation as soon as possible so that comprehensive review of the nation's criminal justice system can begin in earnest. I urge you to support this venture as a person of legal background. If you are already a supporter, I ask that you work with your colleagues to prioritize swift creation of such legislation.