Justice: Prosecute Prosecutors?

In Virginia, Bennett Barbour served countless years on a sentence for a rape conviction that was based on eyewitness testimony, the least reliable of all the forms of evidence used in courts today. The police learned that, through testing of DNA material, Mr. Barbour was excluded as being the perpetrator in this crime. The results from the testing came back in 2010– Mr. Barbour was only notified a few weeks ago that his name was finally cleared. The problem: why did it take so long to let him know?

According to an article published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science has “refused to release information in 76 cases where DNA seems to have cleared a convict’s name — including 13 cases in which the convict is now deceased.” The article also raises questions about punishing authorities and prosecutors–by “making them personally liable for the failure to inform innocent men in a timely manner of evidence exonerating them.”

Read more of the article here, and more about the DNA exoneration and about Virginia’s DFS reports here.