On May 24th, Oklahoma became the 50th and final state to pass a post-conviction DNA testing law. 306 people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes have been exonerated by DNA evidence in the United States since DNA testing first became available as a forensic tool in 1989.
Representative Lee Denney (R-Cushing) and Senator Jim Halligan (R-Stillwater) supported the law, HB 1068. The law was incited by a proposal issued by the Oklahoma Justice Commission in November 2013.
Laws like HB 1068 passed in Oklahoma give many wrongfully convicted individuals the opportunity to gain access to DNA testing. Without such laws, innocent prisoners do not have a statutory right to testing and are required to rely on judges and prosecutors to grant access to DNA testing.
DNA testing has granted innocence for numerous exonerees nationwide. For example, NCIP and California DNA Project client Johnny Williams was exonerated through post conviction DNA testing. Read more about his case here.
Read the official bill here.