“Progressive” Massachusetts was one of the last states to allow access to DNA to those challenging their convictions, and Suffolk University Law School student Samantha Drake chronicles the long-drawn-out battle to legislate DNA access in the Rappaport Briefing commentary “Post-conviction DNA access in Massachusetts.”

“Wrongful conviction is a fact of life,” she writes. “Recent evidence indicates that at least 5 percent of convicted felons are innocent and approximately 10,000 people nationally are currently in prison for crimes they did not commit. However … post-conviction DNA testing has the power to free the innocent. … Advances in science and technology render DNA testing 99.999 percent accurate, making it the best determinant of guilt – or innocence. However, until recently, state law limited access to it.”

Drake’s legal studies are focused on criminal law and international criminal law. she has worked as a research fellow for the Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty and as a legal intern for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

The Rappaport Briefing offers a collection of student commentaries on issues confronting state and local government in Massachusetts, from utilities regulation to English-language learning.

The briefing blog, created by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School, also presents news about Rappaport Center activities.