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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

States' Postconviction Statutes

Osborne is a case of limited applicability. The Court majority's conclusion, that Alaska state law provided an avenue for Osborne to seek testing, did not answer the question of when a state postconviction statute might be unreasonably narrow, or strict in its conditions, so that the denial of access to evidence for DNA testing might violate federal constitutional rights. What is clear from Osborne is that any incarcerated person who wants postconviction testing must first attempt to use state law procedures before seeking relief in federal court under a claim of a denial of due process rights.

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