Finally, someone listened:
DALLAS - A 56-year-old man who spent 25 years behind bars for a rape he says he didn't commit walked out of court a free man on Friday after a judge recommended his aggravated rape conviction be overturned.
Johnnie Earl Lindsey said he wrote six letters to a Dallas County court seeking post-conviction DNA testing that could prove his innocence. All six were ignored, he said.
Finally, the rape kit was tested. He was innocent. He is the 20th innocent man to be freed since 2001 - from Dallas County alone.
How many more requests are the government going to ignore? When will courts hold that there is an affirmative due process righ to have DNA lab tests run? The Ninth Circuit has held that a prisoner has procedural a right to sue to force DNA testing. Osborne v. District Attorney's Office for the Third Judicial District, 423 F. 3d 1050 (9th Cir. 2005). But courts have no generally held that a person has a due process right to have DNA testing done.
How many more innocent men will be released from judges will decide that not allowing testing is unacceptable and unconstitutional? You would think that judges would seek to get past Arizona v. Youngblood, 488 U.S. 51 (1988). In Youngblood, the Supreme Court held that the state does not have a duty to preserve physical evidence of a crime. Unfortunately, Youngblood was actually innocent of the crime he was convicted of; and if the state had preserved the evidence, he would have left prison a free man.
It's getting to the point now where, when people send me links to news stories about DNA exoneration, I think: "This is getting old." I am so used to DNA exonerations. Why aren't courts thinking, "Gee, this DNA stuff is getting a lot of people off. Maybe any system that does not allow people this testing does not comply with the due process clause."