Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 114 Part 5.djvu/778

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114 STAT. 2792 PUBLIC LAW 106-561—DEC. 21, 2000 as the most reliable forensic technique for identifying criminals when biological material is left at a crime scene; (2) because of its scientific precision, DNA testing can, in some cases, conclusively establish the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant; (3) in other cases, DNA testing may not conclusively establish guilt or innocence, but may have significant probative value to a finder of fact; (4) DNA testing was not widely available in cases tried prior to 1994; (5) new forensic DNA testing procedures have made it possible to get results from minute samples that could not previously be tested, and to obtain more informative and accurate results than earlier forms of forensic DNA testing could produce, resulting in some cases of convicted inmates being exonerated by new DNA tests after earlier tests had failed to produce definitive results; (6) DNA testing can and has resulted in the post-conviction exoneration of more than 75 innocent men and women, including some under sentence of death; (7) in more than a dozen cases, post-conviction DNA testing that has exonerated an innocent person has also enhanced public safety by providing evidence that led to the apprehension of the actual perpetrator; (8) experience has shown that it is not unduly burdensome to make DNA testing available to inmates in appropriate cases; (9) under current Federal and State law, it is difficult to obtain post-conviction DNA testing because of time limits on introducing newly discovered evidence; (10) the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence, a Federal panel established by the Department of Justice and comprised of law enforcement, judicial, and scientific experts, has urged that post-conviction DNA testing be permitted in the relatively small number of cases in which it is appropriate, notwithstanding procedural rules that could be invoked to preclude such testing, and notwithstanding the inability of an inmate to pay for the testing; (11) only a few States have adopted post-conviction DNA testing procedures; (12) States have received millions of dollars in DNA-related grants, and more funding is needed to improve State forensic facilities and to reduce the nationwide backlog of DNA samples from convicted offenders and crime scenes that need to be tested or retested using upgraded methods; (13) States that accept such financial assistance should not deny the promise of truth and justice for both sides of our adversarial system that DNA testing offers; (14) post-conviction DNA testing and other post-conviction investigative techniques have shown that innocent people have been sentenced to death in this country; (15) a constitutional error in capital cases is incompetent defense lawyers who fail to present important evidence that the defendant may have been innocent or does not deserve to be sentenced to death; and (16) providing quality representation to defendants facing loss of liberty or life is essential to fundamental due process and the speedy final resolution of judicial proceedings.