Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean I can’t blog. And besides, I like this one.
District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne Basically, a guy wants to know if, after he’s convicted, he can have access to the biological evidence (in this case, sperm found in a condom at a crime scene) that the state has, even though he hasn’t filed any sort of claim that would use that evidence, and the claim he may intend to file isn’t tenable. In other words, is that jizz his, regardless of how he plans or doesn’t plan to use it?
He wanted to order (at his own expense) DNA testing that wasn’t available at the time of his conviction – which seems reasonable, right? Due process, and all that? There are lots of rather dry legal questions here (e.g. can he sue rather than making a habeas claim, can he claim freestanding innocence rather than a defect in the trial), but the one I find most interesting is about whether he can have access to that evidence.
I won’t go on too long, but the DNA test they did at the time of conviction involved identifying one small sequence on one chromosome, a sequence that one in six or seven African Americans has. (In other words, the analysis revealed that the perpetrator was likely to be black, not that he was William Osborne. Which is an issue for another day.)
The court ruled, 5-4, that he has no constitutional right to the evidence. They were careful to say that that didn’t mean he shouldn’t have it; it just meant that it wasn’t up to the Court to say he could. In other words, the states will have to make their own clear rules about that.
Lawyer says: My head hurts!