Sauce for the goose but not for the gander
Published March 8, 2008
[ From Lansing State Journal ]
To the point: DNA evidence should be studied
The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office went to court this week to
oppose DNA testing for a man identified in 1990 as the perpetrator of
Prosecutors are fighting in the appeals court to stop the testing,
saying that evidence at trial makes it unnecessary.
The accused, Robert Barrera, is serving 50 to 80 years.
While there was blood evidence and a victim identification, defense
attorneys from Cooley Law School's Innocence Project do a credible job
of pointing out the limitations of both. The accused is Hispanic and
the victim, who identified him three years after the attack, had once
described her attacker as black. Blood evidence from the victim
matched the accused man's blood type, but it's a blood type common to
40 percent of Hispanic men.
A reasonable person is left to ask: If prosecutors are so confident in
their evidence, what harm could a DNA test cause?
If the convicted man's DNA matches the evidence, everyone can be
confident in the result.
On the other hand, if DNA shows Barrera is not the attacker, wouldn't
that serve justice?
This is especially puzzling following the recent case of Claude
McCollum, an innocent man sent to prison for murder by prosecutors
until a more thorough review of evidence exonerated him.
Apparently Stuart Dunnings III and his staff need to be reminded that
prosecutors should err on the side of thoroughness, always. They must
remember that their goal is not to win - but to serve justice.
What they aren't telling you about DNA profiles
and what Special Branch don't want you to know.
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