Why is Massachusetts one of only two states in the country without a law granting prison inmates the right to test DNA evidence that might prove their innocence?
Betty Ann Waters used DNA testing to exonerate her brother Kenny. Now she's advocating for a Mass. law that will make it easier for inmates to access similar evidence. The Innocence Project)
Over the past two decades, eight people have been released from prison in Massachusetts after serving time for crimes they did not commit. DNA tests proved their innocence. But if you've been convicted here, it's harder to get access to DNA evidence in your case than it is for inmates in 48 other states. A report in the Nov. 20 Boston Globe Magazine examined why. WGBH News’ Phillip Martin questioned whether DNA evidence could help Tyrone Dixon, another man serving life in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts legislators are considering a bill that would allow inmates access to DNA evidence that was critical to their convictions. Though the legislation is supported by the Massachusetts Bar Association, the state crime lab and many police departments, it is not clear that it will be passed by the spring deadline. Advocates say it can help free the innocent. Opponents believe the bill might serve to assist the guilty.
WGBH’s two-part report on post-conviction DNA access was produced in cooperation with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.