Saturday, October 17, 2009

Supreme Court Affirms Denial Of Motion Seeking DNA Testing In Death Penalty Case

In Scott v. State (SC07-1734), the Supreme Court of Florida affirmed the trial court's "order denying a motion for postconviction DNA testing under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.853."  Prior appeals by Mr. Scott can be found at: Scott v. State, 411 So. 2d 866, 867 (Fla. 1982); Scott v. State, 717 So. 2d 908 (Fla. 1998); Scott v. State, 657 So. 2d 1129 (Fla. 1995); Scott v. Dugger, 634 So. 2d 1062 (Fla. 1993); Scott v. State, 513 So. 2d 653 (Fla. 1987); Scott v. State, 464 So. 2d 1171 (Fla. 1985); Scott v. Wainwright, 433 So. 2d 974 (Fla. 1983); Scott v. State, 419 So. 2d 1058 (Fla. 1982).

The court stated:
In December 2005, Scott filed a 3.853 motion pro se and an amended motion requesting appointment of counsel. The trial court appointed Scott legal representation, and his new counsel filed an amended motion for postconviction DNA testing of blood stains in the following areas: a wood chair in the kitchen, the bedroom/family room hallway, a circle of blood, the south wall, a dividing wall, and the hall wall. The amended motion alleged that DNA testing would exonerate Scott by establishing that the blood stains in certain areas are consistent with the victim’s blood and the imprint of a champagne bottle which Kondian admitted (post-trial) he used to strike the victim. The motion also alleged that the results of the DNA tests would show that blood stains in other areas belonged to either Scott or Kondian, not the victim, a point he claims is in direct opposition to the State’s theory at trial.
A review of Scott’s motion reveals that he adequately described the evidence to be tested, established its last known location, asserted that the evidence had not been previously tested for DNA, and alleged that his identification was genuinely However, the motion remains legally insufficient because Scott failed to show that there is a reasonable probability the test results would exonerate him or lessen his sentence. As we have stated, "It is the defendant’s burden to explain, with reference to specific facts about the crime and the items requested to be tested, how the DNA testing will exonerate the defendant of the crime or will mitigate the defendant’s sentence." Robinson v. State, 865 So. 2d 1259, 1265 (Fla. 2004) (citing Hitchcock v. State, 866 So. 2d 23 (Fla. 2004)). And, when the defendant cannot show that DNA will prove or negate a material fact, the request for testing should be denied.


Post a Comment