Wednesday, August 22, 2007

State Appeals Court Grants Archie Williams DNA Testing To Prove His Innocence – 11 Years after He First Asked a Court for Testing

Excerpts from The Innocence Project

(BATON ROUGE, LA; August 22, 2007) – A state appeals court in Baton Rouge ruled this week that Archie Williams has a legal right to DNA testing that could prove his innocence in a rape and attempted murder for which he was convicted in 1983. The ruling comes nearly a quarter-century after Williams was convicted – and 11 years after attorneys for Williams filed the first legal motion seeking DNA testing in the case.

"In many of the 206 cases nationwide where DNA has exonerated wrongfully convicted people, it took years to secure DNA testing, but we have never seen a case as egregious as this one. This is precisely the kind of case where DNA can prove guilt or innocence irrefutably and quickly, but it has taken well over a decade just to secure a court order to have DNA testing conducted,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo Law School. “It is truly incomprehensible and simply unconscionable that it has taken so long to secure testing in this case."

"Again and again in Louisiana and around the country, we have shown that DNA can exonerate the innocent while also helping identify and apprehend the guilty. In the interests of justice, public safety and confidence in the criminal justice system, the Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office should let this court ruling stand and start working to get the DNA testing done,” Scheck said. “Nobody – not Archie Williams and his family, nor the victim and her family and not the community at large – is served by continuing the unprecedented obstacles to DNA testing in this case."

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