Friday, March 28, 2008

Colorado: Post Wishes Moses-EL Lotsa Luck

The Denver Post has taken an editorial stance against legislation requiring courts to hold a new trial if DNA evidence that was supposed to be preserved instead was destroyed. As far as the Post is concerned, the court system "already provides avenues of recourse for those who say they were wrongly convicted" and the bill would add "an additional process" and force judges to hold unwarranted, new trials. The Post is also concerned that the legislation "sets no deadlines for such actions" and that it contradicts another DNA bill being debated in the legislature. Why the legalisation? The Post explains:
Certainly, the case should have been handled better, particularly with regard to DNA evidence. As part of his post-conviction appeals, Moses-EL got a court order in 1995 to have evidence tested for DNA. The evidence was packaged and ready for defense lawyers to pick up. After a month, it was thrown away as part of routine housekeeping by a clerk who didn't notice the "do not destroy" notation. That was wrong, but the action was reviewed by the courts, which deemed the destruction was not done in bad faith.
As for Moses-El, the Post writes:
... we would encourage [Representative] Gordon to put his efforts into an appeal to the governor for clemency.
In addition, the Post says it is "not as convinced of the innocence of Moses-EL as others." To see why, read the article here. See also PardonPower's previous discussion of the case here.

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