Monday, February 25, 2008

Group Seeks Reform Of DNA Testing Program For Ohio Inmates

February 25, 2008

WDTN-TV- Dayton, Ohio

A group seeking to fix problems in Ohio's DNA testing program says lawmakers should establish statewide standards for preserving crime-scene evidence and put police crime labs under greater oversight.

A proposal submitted to Governor Strickland last week by the Ohio Innocence Project and other activists includes 42 recommendations. The group lobbies on behalf of inmates claiming they are innocent.

The plan is a response to a Columbus Dispatch investigation in January that found police and courts routinely discard evidence after trials, and prosecutors and judges often dismiss inmate applications for DNA testing without a stated reason.

Strickland also has called for an overhaul that would speed up the review process and open up testing to more inmates.

Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Virginia are among the states that have outside oversight of government crime labs or require professional accreditation.

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