Federal post-conviction DNA testing bill unveiled

Tuesday, June 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Capitol Hill-AP) -- The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he'll introduce legislation to provide those already convicted of crimes with access to D-N-A testing that could establish their innocence.

The announcement from Senator Orrin Hatch, among the chamber's most conservative members, gives momentum to the push for wider post-conviction genetic testing.

Hatch says we're in a better position than ever before to ensure that in capital cases, only the guilty are executed.

The bill would allow post-conviction testing only if identity were an issue at the trial and if the results could establish the defendant's innocence.

A broader measure is being pushed by Senators Patrick Leahy and Gordon Smith. It would give more inmates access to D-N-A testing and put in place federal competency requirements for defense lawyers in capital cases.

On the Net: http://www.senate.gov/7/8judiciary/