The Tallahassee Democrat reported Thursday that the Florida Supreme Court had extended the deadline for DNA testing of convicts by nine months, which would give them time to consider discarding time limits altogether. Saturday would have marked the last day some prisoners could have filed for consideration.
Justices will now hear a recommendation from the Florida Bar Criminal Procedure Rule Committee to completely do away with deadlines.
The article said bills have been introduced in the Florida Legislature to expel the deadlines regardless of what the court does, and that Gov. Jeb Bush signed an executive order Aug. 5, ordering authorities to preserve evidence in certain types of cases beyond Saturday, Oct. 1.
We applaud these legislators for their efforts to ensure justice. Wrongful convictions undermine the principles of our entire legal system.
The Innocence Project, a widely recognized non-profit legal clinic specializing in DNA post conviction testing, says 162 convicts have been exonerated to date. Many of these cases involve false statements and confessions that were coerced out of suspects. Police tactics that have been exposed include: marathon questioning, sleep deprivation, denial of legal counsel and evidence tampering.
Some police will force confessions out of people out of the desire to have some results to show the public.
This creates the exact opposite of the desired outcome. An innocent person is jailed and a criminal goes free, possibly to act again.
Flaws in the justice system and the actions of some authorities have been exposed by DNA testing. We hope that our government will continue to put the truth ahead of indifference