DNA & Post-Conviction Tests Overview

FingerprintDNA, first used in the United States in the 1980's, has cleared 325 prisoners held for a variety of offenses, many of whom were on death row. Aside from alleviating unjust incarcerations and averting wrongful executions, in about half these cases, DNA testing has led to the real perpetrator. Despite these facts, it remains difficult to obtain post-conviction DNA testing under the current law in some states. Because there are few greater injustices than keeping an innocent person behind bars while denying them the opportunity to prove their innocence, NACDL urges the states to adopt adequate procedures for preserving biological evidence, making DNA testing available to inmates, and allowing applications for post-conviction relief based on favorable DNA results.



Model Legislation 

Reports & Papers 

Upcoming CLE


NACDL, in collaboration with the Innocence Network, presents an exciting new training specifically for lawyers who handle post-conviction innocence cases. This year’s program first addresses statistics for lawyers – a necessary foundation to both understand and challenge many varieties of forensic evidence. Experts will also provide state-of-the-art instruction on topics essential for today’s post-conviction litigation: low level DNA mixture interpretation and cell phone tower evidence. In addition, our experienced faculty will focus on all aspects of finding and working with experts, including conducting direct and cross examination of experts in post-conviction hearings. The cutting edge instruction then extends to investigation, in a session on innovative strategies for finding evidence of innocence through social media and other online sources.   This training is free of charge to approved participants. This year's conference will be held in Orlando on April 30, 2015. For more information, click here.

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