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Convicts Closer to DNA Rights

Despite rapid advances in CSI-style forensics, criminals' access to post-conviction DNA exams are still restricted in some states. But that could change soon: The Supreme Court is considering adding a constitutional clause that grants convicts the right to DNA tests, giving them a chance to prove their innocence while serving their sentence; the court fears, however, that such a clause might "infringe on states' rights, overwhelm them with frivolous demands and create an endless right of appeal for those convicted of the most violent crimes." Yet the advanced, and increasingly and accurate field of DNA testing has already freed 232 prisoners, 17 of whom were sentenced to death. "There are people out there now in prison who are innocent," one prominent criminal defense expert said, adding that the "jurisdictions in which they were convicted deny them access to DNA evidence that would prove it."