An inmate filed his request for DNA testing. Two months later he requested counsel to help in his motion. The judge ignored his request for counsel, did not forward the DNA motion to the State for response, and denied the testing request. The inmate attempted to mandamus the judge in an effort to obtain counsel before the judge had ruled, but Beaumont ultimately declined, saying that since the DNA motion had finally been ruled upon, the request for counsel was moot. The judge then appointed appellate counsel. Appellate counsel asked for reconsideration of the DNA motion, to which the State agreed so that we could tell the judge that the evidence did not even exist at this point. However, the judge refused to reconsider or hear any evidence or response from the State.
We have submitted our briefs and are coming up on oral argument in June.
Our experience has been that our judges are all handling these DNA requests differently, though I suspect they are unanimous in their dislike for the statute as it reads today.
My question is this: Is there anything you would like a court of appeals to address in a published opinion regarding the DNA testing statute?
I hope that the court will issue some guidelines on how to proceed so that the trial courts can act more uniformly instead of sometimes refusing counsel, or not allowing the State an opportunity to respond, or wanting to hold an actual hearing or acting purely on the face of the motion.
What do you think? You can respond here or send me an email with suggestions.
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