The use of DNA testing for convicted felons in recent years has been vitally important to both convict offenders and set the innocent free. Attorney DePowell, who is shown in this video, used DNA testing to prove that his client was not guilty of the crime he was charged with. Others, however, have used DNA testing to prosecute individuals that are guilty of serious charges.
There is only one lab that handles the testing for the entire state of Pennsylvania, except for the cases in Pittsburg and Philadelphia. With the escalating need for DNA testing, the scientists have found it difficult to keep up with growing demands. The backlog has had consequences for both the guilty, who may continue to commit crimes, and the innocent, who sit in jail for months until their DNA test is complete.
Within the last three years, the lab has been able to increase its staff and decrease the backlog; however, delays may again increase with the passage of a new bill that requires all charged with a serious crime to get DNA testing. Currently, only convicted felons are required to get DNA testing. The demand for testing would increase from 20,000 to more than 10,000 in just a few years.
Many believe that this would prove to be ineffective, as important cases could be lost in the chaos. The DNA lab does not currently have the resources to handle this load, and until they do, some believe that this bill needs to wait.
Have more questions about DNA testing? Get in touch with a Harrisburg criminal defense attorney at Crisp and Associates, LLC. They have over three decades of combined experience and can provide seasoned counsel. Call the office or fill out an online case evaluation form to discuss your case, free of charge!