October 13, 2010

Skinner v. Switzer: Access to DNA Evidence

On October 13, 2010, the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether Texas Death Row prisoner Hank Skinner should be allowed to bring a civil rights claim in order to access and test DNA evidence.  Last year the Court held than there is no substantive due process right to test such evidence, but left open the question of whether a prisoner could bring a procedural due process claim.  Mr. Skinner's counsel argued that the process employed by the state of , which prohibits a prisoner from seeking testing of DNA evidence if it was not done at the time of trial, denied him due process of law as guaranteed by the Constitution.