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Trento Student Law Review

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Post-conviction DNA testing is often the last option a convicted person may have to establish that they are not guilty of a crime. New Mexico's post-conviction DNA statute requires convicted persons who seek DNA testing to claim innocence and establish that the identity of the perpetrator was an issue at trial. These requirements are currently included in many state post-conviction DNA statutes; however, some states have amended their statutes to remove these unnecessary requirements. Convicted persons who claimed self-defense, or another affirmative defense may be denied post-conviction DNA testing because of inability to claim "innocence" and because the identity of the perpetrator may not have been an issue at trial. This Article argues that New Mexico's post-conviction DNA statute should be amended to remove these requirements, as they are unnecessarily burdensome and can prevent exonerations of "no crime" wrongfully convicted persons. This Article first discusses how post-conviction DNA testing may be used to exonerate wrongfully convicted persons. Second, it provides an analysis of post-conviction DNA testing statutes and their application in jurisdictions outside of New Mexico. Third, it discusses New Mexico's current post-conviction DNA statute and proposes amendments. Finally, it addresses potential concerns to lessening the burden on access to post-conviction DNA testing.



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