I’ll never forget how lonely I felt when the jury announced its guilty verdict and the courtroom erupted in applause. I thought, how could this happen? It felt surreal, but soon after reality sunk in: I could spend the rest of my life in prison until the state of Maryland executed me. I spent eight years, 11 months and 19 days locked away — two of those years on death row — for a rape and murder that I did not commit, before post-conviction DNA testing proved my innocence.
If not for post-conviction DNA testing, I might still be in prison, or worse, I could have been executed. In 1993, I became the first death-row inmate in the U.S. to be exonerated by DNA testing. Since then, I have dedicated my life to advocating for reforms that will both prevent and identify wrongful convictions.
Lawmakers should immediately reauthorize the Justice for All Act. This legislation would reauthorize two crucial innocence programs: the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program, which bears my name because DNA testing proved my innocence and which provides funding for states to conduct post-conviction DNA testing, and the Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program, which provides federal support to state and local crime laboratories and medical examiner offices to help them execute their work efficiently and effectively.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Congress should support access to post-conviction DNA testing