Bill would require DNA testing for death penalty

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Associated Press

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 4:34 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Democratic Sen. Rodney Ellis want to require that all biological evidence in a murder trial be tested for DNA before a prosecutor can seek the death penalty.

Both men on Tuesday said that the proposed legislation would reduce the number of false convictions and speed up the appeals process for the guilty.

Ellis said that after-trial DNA testing has reversed 18 death penalty cases in the United States. Abbott pointed out that some death row prisoners have used DNA testing to prolong their appeals, even though the evidence only reaffirms their guilt.

Ellis' Senate Bill 1292 would also set out what evidence must be collected and who would test it. There have been fewer than 10 death penalty cases over the last two years.

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