DNA EVIDENCE AND THE COURTS



Reprinted From The Evidence Log an IAPE Publication for Members
Volume 1993, Number 3, Page 20




 
Convicted Murderer Freed after DNA Testing
(Based on Associated Press Release)

DNA has been touted as the most important technology since the fingerprint. DNA testing, when done properly, can be conclusive beyond almost any doubt. The process usually involves the testing of blood or semen. Each test narrows the field of possibilities until the odds virtually eliminate any other suspect. In the past few years, DNA testing has gained acceptance in courts across the United States as a valid proof of guilt. The importance of proper storage and maintenance of DNA evidence was underscored during the review of a Maryland murder case.

Through two trials, a death row conviction and nine years in prison, Bloodsworth insisted he was innocent of the murder and rape of a nine-year-old girl. The testing of semen on the girl's underpants indicated that someone else had committed the crime. Last month Bloodsworth walked out of prison a free man because of DNA testing. The testing had not been available during the original trials.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith, Jr. overturned Kirk Bloodsworth's murder conviction and ordered him freed after a five-minute hearing based on the submission of DNA testing. Bloodsworth's attorney, Robert Morin, credited the preservation of evidence along with new technology as a major factor in freeing his client.

Bloodsworth began sobbing when he spoke of his mother, who died five months ago not knowing the results of the DNA testing. Bloodsworth and Morin said they would pursue legal avenues of compensation for Bloodsworth's time in prison some of which was spent on death row.

County State's Attorney Sandra O'Conner said, "Everything was done correctly," and felt an apology for Bloodsworth's conviction was not appropriate. "I am not prepared to say that he is innocent ... but we do not have enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt."

County police said the case of the killing of Dawn Hamilton would be reopened. There are no suspects at this time.




Copyright © 1993 International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"


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