Texas Court Discusses Use of Post-Conviction DNA Evidence

Advances in technology have changed the way criminal cases are handled, and some advances can help a defendant prove his or her innocence. For example, in many cases, DNA testing can help prove that a defendant was wrongfully charged or convicted of sexual assault. In a recent Texas case, the court analyzed what a defendant must show to obtain post-conviction relief due to DNA evidence. If you live in Texas and are accused of sexual assault, it is in your best interest to speak with a skillful Texas sex crime defense attorney to discuss your rights.

Factual Background

It is reported that the victim and her date were sitting in a car in a park when they were approached by three men. The men robbed the victim and her date at gunpoint, forced the date to exit the vehicle, and then drove the victim to a wooded area of the park where she was raped. Two hours after the assault, the victim underwent a rape examination at a hospital. The sexual assault kit was then submitted to a testing facility.

Allegedly, the defendant was identified by the victim in a photo lineup and was subsequently charged with aggravated sexual assault and aggravated robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to 45 years imprisonment. Several years later, he filed for post-conviction DNA testing. His motion was granted, and testing was conducted on the specimens collected from the victim. The test results stated that the defendant could not be excluded as a possible contributor of the DNA.

The court then issued a finding on the post-conviction testing, stating that the results did not demonstrate a reasonable probability that the defendant would not have been convicted if the results had been available to him at trial. The defendant appealed, arguing the trial court violated his constitutional rights by not holding a hearing after examining the results.

Post-Conviction DNA Testing

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure requires the court that convicted a defendant to hold a hearing and to issue a finding stating whether it is reasonably probable that the defendant would not have been convicted if the results of the test had been available during the trial. In order to show that it is reasonably probable that the defendant would not have been convicted, the defendant must establish that it is reasonably likely that the DNA testing would prove his or her innocence. A defendant cannot meet this burden if the results of the test would merely make the issue of the defendant’s innocence less clear.

In the subject case, although the court did not conduct a hearing on the results of the post-conviction DNA testing, the defendant did not object to the lack of hearing or request a hearing. Thus, the court found that the issue was waived. The court stated, however, that even if the defendant preserved his right to a hearing, the results of the DNA test were inconclusive and therefore did not establish a reasonable probability of the defendant’s innocence. As such, the trial court rulings were affirmed.

Meet with a Trusted Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Today

A conviction for sexual assault can cause permanent harm to your rights and your reputation. If you are charged with a sexual assault offense, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Texas sex crime defense attorney regarding your case. Rick Davis is a zealous criminal defense attorney who has the skills and experience needed to help you seek a favorable outcome. Mr. Davis can be contacted at (979) 779-4357 or through the form online to set up a free and confidential meeting.

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