From the Innocence Blog, the latest scandal in Virginia, “you’re innocent, we know it, but we’re not going to tell you:”
After a report last week revealed that Virginia officials do not plan to tell convicted defendants if an audit has revealed untested biological evidence in their case file, editorials and experts have criticized the plan as unfair to people who may be wrongfully imprisoned.
The audit began after Marvin Anderson was exonerated in 2002 by DNA evidence in his case that was uncovered in the files of a retired lab analyst. Gov. Mark Warner then ordered that 10% of cases in the analyst’s files be tested for a possible wrongful conviction. Two more men – Phillip Leon Thurman and Willie Davidson – were exonerated by this review, and Warner ordered a complete audit of all sex assault and murder convictions between 1973 and 1988 involving biological evidence. That audit turned up 2,215 cases, and officials plan to share this list of cases with police, prosecutors and the governor, but not to notify defendants if biological evidence has been found in their case.
Leading voices across the state are outraged by the plan to notify only police and prosecutors.