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Study: Va. DNA tests show scale of bad convictions

Monday - 6/18/2012, 3:56pm  ET

By ZINIE CHEN SAMPSON and DENA POTTER
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - New DNA testing in hundreds of old Virginia homicide and sexual assault cases supports the exoneration of at least 38 suspects, according to a study by a national policy group that examined the test results.

Researchers for the Urban Institute found that in 5 percent of homicide and sexual assault cases, testing on archived DNA ruled out the convicted person. The wrongful conviction rate previously had been estimated at 3 percent or less.

The study released Monday is the first to say how many exonerations are likely from Virginia's stash of biological samples from cases that happened between 1973 and 1987.

Although all of these tests were done on Virginia cases, a lead researcher said the results likely could be applied elsewhere.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)