Understanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on Post-Trial DNA Testing in Osborne

On June 19, 2009, In District Attorney v. Osborne, the U.S. Supreme Court held that criminal defendants do not have a federal due process right to post–trial DNA testing. This article gives an overview of the facts and impacts of the case. Osborne’s supporters argued that if evidence existed that could conclusively show whether or not a defendant committed the crime then it should be tested. But these arguments ignore the fact that Osborne’s trial counsel’s decision to not request more specific pre-trial DNA testing was to avoid further incrimination of Osborne. This case is a reminder that prosecutors should strive to have policies that are fair and open-minded and place the interests of justice ahead of a desire to simply fight to preserve all convictions.