On May 14, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed a new state law allowing prisoners to seek post-conviction DNA testing in cases where it can prove innocence. The groundbreaking new law will help Alaska prisoners fight injustice and leaves only Oklahoma and Massachusetts without such measures.
Passed this month with unanimous support in both houses of Alaska’s legislature, the critical reform came about thanks to years of work by a coalition of advocates including the Alaska Innocence Project and the Innocence Project. Among other provisions, it provides for state funding in cases where a judge decides that DNA testing could prove innocence and requires the state to preserve biological evidence from crime scenes as long as a defendant is in prison (or for 50 years in unsolved crime).
In a guest post on the Innocence Blog this week, Alaska Innocence Project Executive Director Bill Oberly writes that the details of a DNA access law can make it or break it, and that Alaska’s includes several provisions critical to effectively overturning wrongful convictions. "The Last Frontier is not the last in justice," he writes.
Learn more about post-conviction DNA testing laws across the country. GO here