My research project will examine if DNA should be tested in earlier rape cases. Before the mid 1990s DNA was not tested a much as it is today in rape cases. Because of the lack of testing, it is possible that many innocent individuals are serving time for a crime they did not commit. This is the reason I feel this project is important to research. No innocent person should have to serve a sentence for a crime. Literature Review Rape is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed. The word rape can have several different definitions. The one definition that is used by all states is if a man forcibly subjects a woman to sexual intercourse without her consent he has committed rape (uslegal.com, 2008). However, many people are falsely convicted of rape. By using DNA the falsely accused can regain their freedom. Despite the availability of DNA testing there are still people serving a sentence for a rape they did not commit. Bruce Gross’s article False Rape Allegations (2008) states that “There is no way of knowing the number of defendants who have been convicted of rape on the basis of false allegation. One study found 28 cases in which the defendant had been convicted and served an average of 7 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA evidence.” According to Alex Trensniowski’ s article, Ronald Cotton was wrongly sentenced to two life terms for rape, he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 1995 (2009). James McKinley’s article tells of a Houston man that served five years in prison before released after DNA proved he did not sexually assault an 8 year old boy in 2002. Kara Goeke’s articles states that Ronald Taylor served a 13 of 60 year sentence for rape before DNA SHOULD DNA BE TESTED IN EARLIER RAPE CASES? proved him innocent (2008). Kevin Johnson describes in Cleared by DNA test, but still struggling to be free (2009), “that not even DNA washes away the lasting stigma that shadows once-convicted sex offenders who are cleared by genetic testing.” From reading these articles I found that there is a desperate need for DNA testing of past rape cases. It is hard to imagine being accused and convicted of a crime you did not commit. That is why I feel DNA needs to be tested in all past rape cases. Discussion Rape is the most serious form of sexual assault in the United States. In all states if a man forcibly subjects a woman to sexual intercourse without her consent he has committed the crime of rape (uslegal.com, 2008). With today’s technology DNA can help identify the rapist in a crime. However, Before DNA technology was widely available, individuals were found guilty of rape without proper evidence to convict them. DNA should be tested in earlier rape cases, because many innocent people have spent the majority of their life in prison for a rape that they did not commit. The victim can make a false identification during a line up or the victim could be making false rape allegations.
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