Monday, July 23, 2007

Wrongful Convictions and Evidence Procedures

This week the Denver Post is running a special feature on the mishandling and misuse of evidence. The focus primarily deals with the inappropriate destruction of DNA evidence that might reveal the actual perpetrator of a crime and exonerate someone wrongly convicted of it. The success of the Innocence Project in using such evidence is widely known. What is not known is how long it will take for authorities to refocus their efforts on finding the truth in questionable convictions rather than covering up their own misjudgments. Today's installment reports that "in 1997, the clerk in Harris County, Texas, threw out 50 rape kits days after then- Gov. George W. Bush pardoned Houston's Kevin Byrd from a wrongful conviction exposed by DNA tests."