Washington Law Review

Note

State v. Crumpton: How the Washington State Supreme Court Improved Access to Justice in Post Conviction DNA Testing

October 30, 2015 | 90 Wash. L. Rev. 1395

Abstract: Post-conviction DNA testing is a valuable tool for ensuring innocent people are not wrongfully incarcerated. Society has strong interests in confirming that available, yet previously untested, DNA evidence matches the person convicted. Access to post-conviction DNA testing, however, has been limited to maintain finality and avoid an over-burdened court system. This Note examines post-conviction DNA testing in Washington State, particularly after the 2014 Washington State Supreme Court decision, State v. Crumpton. In Crumpton, a majority of the Court—over a strongly worded dissent—read a favorable presumption into Washington’s post-conviction DNA testing statute. The favorable presumption requires courts to presume the DNA test would be favorable to the petitioner, thus making it easier for convicted persons to access testing. Given the trend in other states, the astonishing number of exonerations, and the apparent falsity of the myth that DNA requests are over-burdening courts, Washington’s interest in justice supports expanding access to post-conviction DNA testing.

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