Prior to Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to sign legislation that increases the availability of DNA testing for criminal defendants who claim wrongful conviction, New Jersey was one of 14 states that required people to be found guilty and imprisoned before having access to DNA testing.
Of course, anyone who can foot the bill has always been permitted to pay for DNA testing in an effort to prove their innocence. The new law, which goes into effect in March 2016, allow defendants to request that the state pay for the DNA testing procedures before conviction and incarceration.
The chief sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), said many people don’t have the financial means to pay for DNA testing during their trials. Without access to technology that could clear their name, they are forced to spend time behind bars before getting the chance to be exonerated through DNA evidence.
“Sadly, under current state law, an innocent person who is on probation or parole does not have the same access to the technology that can help clear their name and restore their dignity,” Assemblyman Johnson wrote in a statement. “This law opens access to DNA testing to these individuals so they can stop living under the shadow of guilt and finally be free.”
Additionally, lead Senate sponsor Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), said that allowing defendants access to DNA technology testing in the beginning of the process may very well aid investigators in finding the “true perpetrators of the crimes for which these individuals were charged.”
Unfortunately, it is not all that unusual for the wrong person to be charged with a crime. If you or someone you love is facing serious criminal charges, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Do not speak with police or anyone else before speaking with your attorney from Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC.
For decades we have fought to protect our clients facing charges in Monmouth and Middlesex counties and we will put our experience to work for you, as well. Call Rudnick Law today for a free consultation about your charges.