Wednesday, January 24, 2007

DNA testing in NY State

Roy Brown is now the eighth New Yorker in the last thirteen months to be exonerated based on new DNA evidence. Mr. Brown previously served eight months for threatening a social worker who ordered Mr. Brown's daughter to be removed from his home. Days after his release, a different social worker was found brutally murdered, and Mr. Brown was later convicted. He conducted his own investigation from behind bars, and ultimately determined the true killer to be Barry Bench, whom investigators overlooked because the lead investigator thought he was incapable of killing anyone. Days after Mr. Brown sent a letter to Bench accusing him of the murder, Bench took his own life.

Mr. Brown lost fifteen years of life behind bars. He was lucky enough to be greeted by friends and family upon release.

The judge that ordered his release offered an apology -- but should anything be offered to those convicted of crimes they did not commit? What result if the conviction rests on prosecutorial misconduct or other governmental malfeasance?

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