Saturday, September 22, 2007

Man Who Claimed DNA Would Exonerate Him Gets Opposite Results

I'd be surprised if the outcome of this case makes it to the major network's evening news.

A DNA test requested by a man convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1990 reaffirmed his guilt, the Dallas County district attorney said Friday. Darryl Patrick Goggans filed a motion for post-conviction DNA testing in 2003, which was opposed by the district attorney’s office last year. [...] Brady Wyatt, Goggans’ attorney, declined to comment Friday.

I'm not surprised, however, that the defense attorney didn't comment since this isn't a result he likely wants people to know about. It messes with the PR that all those who claim to be innocent are telling the truth.

If the defense attorney claimed this DNA test would be the determining, and irrefutable, piece of evidence which would prove the innocence of his client then he must accept that this result is the irrefutable proof of guilt.

If the DNA test isn't proof of guilt then it couldn't prove innocence either.

I want those who are factually innocent to be exonerated, but my concern is that those who commit serious crimes with little remorse and no guilt can do such a great acting job that those who are eager to see them as falsely convicted will rationalize away all of the non-DNA evidence which supports the correctness of a guilty verdict or a guilty plea.

For example, just because an ID process is now considered sub-standard -- to the point where the defense cheers its use because of the ammo it gives them -- doesn't automatically mean that the wrong person was identified. Yet I've seen people who claim to be experts talk as if this were the case.

I'm always bothered by those who push for exoneration who try to turn the convicted man into a saint. This effort ignores the fact that those who seem saintlike can commit the worst crimes imaginable. They run the risk of undermining their credibility and the credibility of the whole innocence movement.

Like convictions, exonerations should be based on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all of the evidence not just DNA. Because witnesses may not be able to testify at a retrial, there should be no exoneration unless the convict has been proven innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:15 AM   0 comments links to this post


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