News

Bill: Even a Plea Deal Should Allow DNA Testing

Bill:  Even a Plea Deal Should Allow DNA Testing

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

A measure that would allow some prisoners to have DNA evidence in their case tested after they agree to a plea deal is making its way through the statehouse.

Convicts who plead guilty even though they’re innocent sometimes do so because of factors like police coercion, or simply not wanting to spend their life in prison, says John Hanlon, who heads the Illinois Innocence Project.

“Some people who are innocent take the deal, so to speak, and then later come to be aware of evidence that could have been tested and should be tested and that’s what this bill is all about. It’s just in the name of fairness, just asking for access to the evidence to test it,” said Hanlon.

He’s supporting a measure that would allow defendants who plead guilty the chance to petition judges to have DNA evidence tested. The measure awaits a House vote.

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