A Chance at a Second Chance: DNA Testing May Expand
Written by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
A new bill passed in the N.J. legislature concerning DNA and criminal defendants. In the past, a defendant had to be incarcerated in order to request possible innocence-proving DNA testing, but now that could change if Governor Chris Christie approves the bill. If the bill became law it would allow a person who was currently serving a sentence imposed for that same criminal conviction (which includes incarceration), or who has completed serving that sentence, but provides just cause. So someone on parole, or with a life-altering criminal record may be able to exonerate themselves with DNA testing. Defendants may also reduce wait times by using private labs so long as they comply with FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories. It is unclear whether Governor Christie’s presidential aspirations will affect his decision on this bill one way or another. See the text of the bill here.