Minnesota Law Review

Waiving Innocence

The exceptional accuracy of DNA, and the exonerations it has produced, have led to a reconsideration of cherished, but empirically untested, notions of the reliability of the criminal justice system. They have also, albeit incompletely, provoked a renewed commitment—reflected in new ethical rules, compensation schemes, and the testing statutes themselves—to protecting the innocent. But there is a danger that, as has happened with other advances in the protections afforded to the accused, the scope of DNA testing rights and the spirit embodied in them will erode as DNA testing loses its novelty. There is evidence that this has already begun. DNA waivers—through which a defendant gives up the right to the testing, and possibly preservation, of DNA evidence—have been widely sought by the Federal Government. The history of similar innovations in plea bargaining suggests that these waivers may spread to the states. The Article identifies this practice for the first time in the legal literature and explores their validity, their consequences, and the justifications behind their use. It argues that although courts are likely to enforce these waivers in most circumstances, they are deeply problematic, not least because of their damaging effect on the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system.

:: View PDF

News & Events

  • Fall Submissions Open – Headnotes

    The Minnesota Law Review: Headnotes fall submissions period is open. For more information, please visit our submissions page. Share this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+

  • Vol. 97 Piece Quoted in Mother Jones Article

    A recent Mother Jones article predicting how the Roberts Court would resolve King v. Burwell draws on How Business Fares in the Supreme Court from Volume 97. You can read the article here. Share this: on Twitter on Facebook on Google+

  • Welcome to De Novo

    For nearly one hundred years, the Minnesota Law Review has been a leader amongst academic legal publications. When Professor Henry J. Fletcher launched the journal in 1917, his goal was simple. It was to “contribute a little something to the systematic growth of the whole law.” Since then, the Law [...]

  • Minnesota Law Review Alum Remembered 45 Years After Death

    Minnesota Law Review alumnus Tom Cranna was honored at the Annual Banquet this Spring, 45 years after his death. Mr. Cranna was remembered for his contributions to the journal, the school, and the positive impact he had on his family and friends. The Devil’s Lake Journal published a memorial which [...]

  • Follow MLR on Twitter!

    The Minnesota Law Review is proud to announce that we are now on Twitter. Follow us @MinnesotaLawRev for information and updates concerning the petition period and deadlines, the opening and closing of article submissions, our 2014 Symposium: Offenders in the Community, and all other news concerning our authors and publications. [...]

Newsletter

cforms contact form by delicious:days