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DNA testing bill modified

first_img April 15, 2006 Regular News DNA testing bill modified Jan Pudlow Senior Editor With a unanimous vote and no debate, a last-minute revised bill doing away with DNA testing deadlines for those in prison trying to prove their innocence cleared its last committee and is headed to the House floor.The day after the State Administration Council’s March 29 vote in the House, Jennifer Greenberg, executive director of the Florida Innocence Initiative, called the new version troubling because it “removes two critical rights” for those trying to prove their innocence.Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, sponsor of SB 186, called the House version “wrong” and said he will not change his bill.“The truth is the truth, regardless of who it benefits or who it hurts. That is what the justice system is all about: seeking out the truth,” Villalobos said. “Some people will like it and some people won’t. You can’t pick and choose what you are going to use to benefit yourself. That is immoral. It seems like the House is trying to somehow say the truth is only important under certain circumstances. That’s wrong.”Last-minute changes to HB 61 sponsored by Rep. John Quiñones, R-Kissimmee, and Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, concerned Greenberg, who said she was taken by surprise by what was changed with a strike-all amendment.“The DNA bill is going through the committees beautifully and is finally working toward creating an opportunity for the wrongfully incarcerated. Much of the good intention has been absolutely stripped from the House version,” Greenberg said. “It cannot be the final outcome with zero opportunity for debate and not one negative vote. I am perplexed and only hope we can get back to a bill that has a prayer of doing justice for citizens suffering the devastation of wrongful incarceration.”The two 11th-hour changes that upset Greenberg and Villalobos would eliminate the right of a defendant to ask for subsequent DNA testing if more sophisticated DNA tests become available, which has occurred in the past. It also removes the rights of defendants to use DNA testing to mitigate their sentences. Greenberg explained this becomes very important in situations when a co-defendant may have been involved in an underlying crime, such as burglary, but did not actually commit the rape or murder that puts them in prison for life, based on the testimony of a co-defendant who cuts a deal with the state.Asked about the last-minute changes, Quiñones and Bogdanoff both said they were suggested by House State Administration Council Chair Rep. Dan Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs.“There was concern in the committee that we could continue to ask for testing after testing after testing. So this change provided the ability to have the DNA test while at the same time not to continue on with the same petition,” Quiñones said.Bogdanoff said the changes were intended to address concerns about providing crime victims with finality, and keeping defendants from “getting a second bite of the apple.” It outlines a procedure for judges to ask defendants about DNA testing at the time of accepting pleas.Villalobos stressed that “finality for victims is when the guilty party pays for the crimes.”Bogdanoff said she believes Greenberg’s and Villalobos’ issues were “unintended consequences” that they still have time to address.“I wanted the bill to go through all the committees and go to the floor,” Quiñones said. “There may still be room for some compromising to do yet.”Florida Bar President-elect Hank Coxe voiced the Bar’s support of the general issue of doing away with the July 1 deadline for post-conviction testing contained in HB 61, because it falls under the umbrella of administration of justice. Coxe testified the bill would accomplish three things: True perpetrators of crime will be punished; the rights of the innocent will be addressed; public trust in the system will not be diminished.“It is, actually, the public trust above all that has brought this issue to a head,” testified Coxe, a criminal defense attorney.“And I say that because we recognize that we are as human in the judicial system as any other part of government or society as a whole. This addresses our human failures.”center_img DNA testing bill modifiedlast_img read more

Josh Stewart out for Texas game

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Photo Attribution: USATSI Photo Attribution: USATSIGood stuff from Kelly Hines here. She scooped on Instagram that Josh Stewart said he will not play the Texas game but will be back for Baylor next week.Full story here.How mad is Gundy going to be when he finds out that his star receiver is leaking the injury report on Instagram??That company is garbage! The company that bought it for $1 billion is garbage, too!Here’s the post:And here’s proof of that in case I start getting phone calls pic.twitter.com/mEeNNIy1jN— Brendon Morris (@brendon_wm) November 16, 2013last_img read more

Indigenous artists shine at Folk on the Rocks festival in Yellowknife

first_imgCharlotte Morritt-Jacobs APTN National NewsFestival goers from across Canada flocked to the annual Folk on the Rocks weekend in Yellowknife.This year, many notable Indigenous artists took to the stage sharing their talent with the [email protected]@aptncharlottelast_img