Lawmaker Proposing New Bill To Change DNA Testing For Convicts
Wichita Falls, TX - A Texas lawmaker that authored a 2011 bill that makes it difficult for convicts to receive crime-scene DNA testing says he is proposing a new bill to change it.
Sen. Rodney Ellis (D) of Houston said it would clear up the current law on the books stating that a convicted person may request testing of "evidence containing biological material."
The Texas Court of Appeals has come out and said this law denied death row inmate Larry Ray Swearingen's request for testing.
On Monday, Ellis held a press conference in Austin with the Innocence Project and several people that have been exonorated.
He said, "The court has asked for guidance, and we ought to give it to them."
Among those in attendance, that have been exonorated was Micheal Morton, a Stephenville County man that was convicted of his wife's murder in 1986. He served nearly 25 years in prison until DNA testing proved he was innocent.
Morton said he is in support of this new bill.
"Having a request for procedural error is one thing and a neccessary, but it's very different when their asking for access of evidence that points to actual innocence," said Morton.
Since a 2011 allowing post-conviction DNA testing, more than 50 people who were wrongfully convicted of a crime in Texas have been exonorated. In more than 20 of those cases law enforcement found the criminals responsible.