Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bill would expand prisoners' rights to DNA testing - Cincinnati.com

Former federal marshal wants to afford convicts tools to prove innocence

A conservative Northern Kentucky lawmaker has thrown his support behind legislation previously championed by liberals that would allow a Cincinnati man to proceed with DNA testing on evidence he claims will exonerate him of a 1987 rape and killing in Newport.

“If DNA testing is good enough to send you to prison it should be good enough to get you out of prison,” State Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, said while speaking at a criminal law reform symposium held last month at Northern Kentucky University.

“One of the basic tenants of American jurisprudence is that it is better to have a guilty man go free than an innocent man go to prison.”

On Friday, Schickel pre-filed legislation that would afford DNA testing to inmates like 60-year-old William Virgil, who is serving a 70-year sentence in LaGrange for the killing of VA Medical Center nurse Retha Welch. DNA testing was not available at the time of the crime.

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