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Postconviction DNA Testing: Recommendations for Handling Requests

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1999
134 pages
This manual provides criminal justice practitioners with guidelines for analyzing cases in which DNA evidence is presented.
These guidelines have been unanimously approved by the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. Created in 1998 at the request of Attorney General Janet Reno, the Commission's charge was to submit recommendations to the Attorney General that will help ensure more effective use of DNA as a crime-fighting tool and foster its use throughout the entire criminal justice system. The broad scope of input enabled the Commission to develop recommendations that both maximize the investigative value of DNA technology and address the issues raised by the application of a powerful technology. As a framework for the recommendations, five broad case categories are identified. The manual also discusses the kinds of legal issues that have already arisen and others that will probably develop as applications for postconviction DNA testing continue to be made and the technology to conduct those tests advances. Biological issues in the collection and development of DNA evidence are also considered. The recommendations for handling requests for postconviction DNA testing focus on the responsibilities for prosecutors, defense counsel, the judiciary, victim assistance, and laboratory personnel. A glossary and appended resource list, State statutes on notification of victims, sample DNA test brochure, a report of the working group on postconviction issues, a subject index, and a case index

Date Published: September 1, 1999