Bills to deter wrongful convictions go to Gov. Brown

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Lawmakers have sent Gov. Jerry Brown two bills designed to thwart or reverse wrongful convictions.

SB980, which passed the Senate 32-3 Friday, changes the criteria for a judge to order DNA testing. It would require law enforcement agencies to tell defendants when they possess evidence that could be tested for DNA.

It also would let judges order DNA evidence to be run through the FBI's nationwide database to look for a match.

Defendants would not have to show initially that DNA testing will prove they are innocent. And judges would not have to decide that the DNA evidence would be enough to get the defendant released from prison.

The second bill, AB885, allows juries in criminal cases to consider whether prosecutors are intentionally withholding evidence. It passed the Assembly 45-17.


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