Phillips isn’t the only Texas inmate who has been denied a DNA test. Over the past five years, an estimated 800 convicts have made a request, but only 83 have seen it granted. “It’s harder to get DNA testing in Texas than any other state,” says Nina Morrison, a lawyer at the New York–based nonprofit Innocence Project. “The Texas statutory language is generous; it strikes an appropriate balance between granting testing in cases where DNA is relevant to the identity of the perpetrator and not granting it in cases where there are no doubts.” The problem, says Morrison and other lawyers, is that many Texas prosecutors aggressively fight DNA motions no matter what the merits of the request, and many judges apply a strict interpretation of Chapter 64, one that can make it almost impossible to get a test.Be sure to check out the rest. Hall explains the ins and outs of DNA testing, takes a look at the troubled Houston crime lab, and discusses the role of Texan and former FBI director William Sessions promoting DNA testing in old cases. Good stuff, Michael. And thanks again, TM, for the preview!
RELATED: The Washington Post reports today on two more defendants exonerated by post-conviction DNA tests in Virginia. Both were convicted of rape more than 20 years ago.