By John Grimm
The Court of Appeals recently held that defendants who plead guilty or enter an Alford plea are not eligible to request post-conviction DNA testing pursuant to Criminal Procedure § 8-201. Section 8-201 allows anyone convicted of a crime of violence to request DNA testing of evidence in their case, and § 8-201(d)(1) requires the court to order the requested testing if two conditions are satisfied:
(i) a reasonable probability exists that the DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce exculpatory or mitigating evidence relevant to a claim of wrongful conviction or sentencing; and
(ii) the requested DNA test employs a method of testing generally accepted within the relevant scientific community.
Md. Code Ann., Crim. Pro. § 8-201(d)(1). If the results of the DNA test are favorable to the petitioner, the court must open or reopen a post-conviction proceeding, or order a new trial. Id. § 8-201(i)(2).
The Potential After-Effects of DeWolfe’s Implementation – Expanding Maryland v. King to Begin Testing All Arrestee DNA
By Michael Wein
There’s less than two weeks before the Maryland General Assembly adjourns sine die on April 7th. This poses an upcoming deadline for passing legislation complying with the Maryland Court of Appeals’ DeWolfe decision that criminal Defendants have a Constitutional right to representation in their initial bail determinations. The three main proposals are on the table, though a mixture of them is also possible. These proposals are (1) to have comprehensive and supposedly objective Preliminary bail determinations delegated to administrative Pretrial Services employees (that will effectively scrap the current system of review by a neutral magistrate, and thereby no Constitutional violations since no Counsel will be permitted), (2) an expansive and supposedly more expensive representation schema in place that will have full time defense attorneys representing defendants, and additional costs for judges, Court commissioners, courthouse security, etc., and (3) permitted some criminal defendants to affirmatively waive their right to Counsel for an initial appearance in order to get a pre-trial appearance before a Court Commissioner and release. (In the past day, after this was written but before being posted, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee favored by a 7-4 vote, Option 1, the Pretrial services approach.) Read More…