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Texas Bill Looks to Expand Access to DNA Testing

Democratic State Senator Rodney Ellis will be joined by the New York-based Innocence Project to introduce a new bill to review and possibly become a part of Texas law. Its purpose? To help expand DNA testing access and fix issues created by a 2011 law, which makes crime scene DNA test difficult for convicts.

The original 2011 legislation states that a convicted individual may request testing of evidence that contains biological material, if they can prove that the content existed. An example being used by Ellis on how the law can be improved involves a 2014 request denial for Larry Ray Swearingen by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Swearingen was convicted in 1998 on capital murder. He requested DNA testing on pantyhose found at the scene, but couldn’t provide proof on biological material being on the evidence.

Senator Ellis hopes that the new bill will give the convicted a chance to prove their innocence without slowing down the justice system.

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