I read this on the plane over the weekend in a two-week-old Time magazine:
Why DNA exonerations may get rarer
Justice, it seems, has an expiration date. Luis Diaz last month became one of a handful of Florida prisoners -- and one of 99 nationwide -- exonerated by DNA testing since 2000.
But the 2001 statute that helped set him free after he spent 26 years in jail for rapes he did not commit is set to expire next week.
After October 1, when prisoners can no longer petition Florida courts for post-conviction DNA testing, their only hope will be to ask prosecutors (the people who put them in jail in the first place) to reopen their case.
Prisoners in Ohio face a similar deadline at the end of the month....
Worse still, the four-year window in Florida that required the preservation of evidence for older cases -- which may have predated reliable DNA testing -- is also closing.
And unlike California, which last year passed a law ensuring the preservation of evidence throughout an inmate's incarceration, Florida Governor Jeb Bush last month mandated that law-enforcement agencies need give only a 90-day notice before destroying evidence, which isn't much time given the low literacy rates among inmates and how hard prison protocol makes it for them to reach a lawyer....
And new hurdles could arise at the congressional level, where a bill threatens to restrict many prisoners from filing one last-ditch petition in federal court....
Such compassionate conservatives in the all-GOP governments of Florida, Ohio, and D.C.