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Summary: SB 344 would create a procedure for a convicted individual to file an application for writ of habeus corpus based on relevant scientific evidence. This bill would allow a court to grant the convicted individual relief if the application contains sufficient specific facts.
Analysis: Advances in scientific methods and understanding can bring old convictions into question if those convictions were based significantly on science that is now outdated or discredited. SB 344 attempts to address this by opening the possibility of a reexamination of the evidence in cases where modern science, had it been available at the time of trial, may have changed the outcome of the trial in the defendant’s favor. This bill would establish a process that a convicted individual could use to present the new scientific evidence. Jailing an innocent person is one of the most egregious violations of individual liberty and our justice system should be responsive to scientific advances that may lead to the exoneration of wrongfully convicted inmates. We recommend voting YES on SB 344.