The Obama administration on DNA evidence.

The law, lawyers, and the court.
Feb. 27 2009 3:43 PM

Obama's Testing Test

Why is the Justice Department on the wrong side of a Supreme Court case about DNA evidence?

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Evidence of innocence does—and must—matter to all of us, whenever it is presented. I have no idea whether Osborne is guilty. If the DNA shows that he is, so be it. But what if it shows he is not? Wouldn't victims of crime want to know if the wrong person is imprisoned, and the real perpetrator is still on the streets, free to commit more crimes? Wouldn't all of us want to know this?

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft has called DNA the "truth machine of law enforcement." Why should our criminal justice system be afraid of that truth machine? There is still time for the new administration to reverse course before next Monday's argument. I hope it will.

William S. Sessions, now a partner at the law firm Holland and Knight, directed the FBI from 1987 to 1993. Previously, he served as a federal judge and U.S. attorney in Texas.