HELENA — An appeals court says people who were convicted of crimes through inconclusive or outdated DNA testing procedures should be allowed new tests using the latest technological advances without regard to a three-year time limit set by law.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first in the nation to rule that the advances in DNA technology mean previously useless samples should be considered newly discovered evidence that is not subject to judicial time limitations.
The three-judge panel acknowledged in its opinion Friday the ruling could open many closed cases to new DNA testing. But the judges say protecting the innocent is paramount.
The ruling was made in the case of a Montana man who was convicted of attempted sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in 2006.
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