I'm wondering how the ongoing requests for DNA testing by convicted felons is coming along. We had one here in Williamson County in which the defendant asked for us to test the DNA of the victim, who the defendant had shot. She wanted to prove the he was not her landlord but was The Jackal, of assassin fame.
At trial her defense was that she had to kill her landlord because he was a terrorist in cahoots with the likes of Bill Clinton.
As then written, we had to pay for a defense attorney to be appointed to the case.
Anyone have these kinds of DNA requests?
Nothing that exotic as you had in my practice, but just about as worthless.
The defendant was arrested on a burglary capias while sitting in his car in an elementary school parking lot about seven years ago. In the glove compartment of his car was found an illegal knife. He plead guilty and got a deferred adjudication He couldn't handle it and and about six years ago he was adjudicated, sentenced to 8 years, and was immediately locked up. (Yes, he is still locked up on an non-3g, non-aggravated offense - he makes friends where ever he goes.)
Earlier this year he requested DNA testing. The county paid for an attorney to help him create the situation in which the Court could determine that there was nothing to test and even if there was, it wouldn't clear him.
We just had one. (After 9/1/03). This one was pro se. The inmate was asking DNA testing on two child sex victim's. Testimony at trial was that one victim made an outcry some weeks after the last incident, and there was no DNA evidence collectible. After inmate was convicted he pled guilty to another charge, in exchange for dropping several other charges. That case came about because of the inmates confession! Again no DNA. The judge dismissed his DNA motion.
Mr. Bradley, we in Parker County have had a few of these completely wasteful post-conviction DNA testing proceedings. In fact, we have yet to see a request which has any merit whatsoever.
I have had a request in a 25 year old rape case where no DNA was obviously ever collected. That request was denied. In another case, the defendant wanted us to test fetal tissue from a 14-year-old who became pregnant from his sexual abuse some two years after the pregnancy was terminated to prove that he was not the father. He seemed to forget that he gave a full confession to the sexual intercourse. That motion was also denied after the County had to pay for his attorney.
In another twenty-year-old case, which is similar to yours, a defendant shot a couple multiple times from outside their truck and then pushed it and them into a lake. The only remaining physical evidence did not contain any biological material which could be submitted for testing other than tissue and blood samples taken from the victims' bodies during their autopsies. That defendant was also appointed counsel to prepare the motion, and it was denied. Then, the guy wanted to appeal, and after appointing him appellate counsel, I'm waiting for the Second Court of Appeals to hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that there was no evidence to test which could prove his innocence. Again, a complete waste of time and resources.
I do believe that the Legislature had the best of intentions when they enacted Article 64, and in appropriate, rare cases, it could prove the innocence of the wrongfully convicted. However, in practice, I have found that it merely wastes my time in handling these completely frivolous DNA testing requests. It is just another mechanism that whining, jail-house lawyers can use to torment me and the criminal justice system. But I'm not bitter!
I have a suggestion - in any answer, ask for attorney fees, sanctions, etc. under CCP art 1.052. The statute dealing with post-conviction DNA is so demanding that a even cursory examination of the facts and legal pleadings would quickly show when such a motion has meets the requirements.
As attorneys for the State, we expect ramifications for the defendant when verdicts/rulings don't go his way. In these matters, if you feel this motion is falls under CCP art 1.052, ask for the sanctions. I know people will disagree due to practical considerations and that the State should just accept such motions because of the nature of our legal system. But I know it is satisfying to see the look on the defendant's face when he hears his commisssary is going to be used to pay in full any attorney fees, etc.
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