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DNA testing bill passes House, Senate

[JURIST] Both houses of Congress passed a bill Saturday that expands the access of rape victims and convicted felons to DNA testing. HR 5107 - termed the Justice for All Act of 2004 (text here) - was approved by voice vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it into law.

The bill increases funding for processing the current backlog of DNA samples from rape kits and death row cases, and provides testing monies for current inmates whose cases might benefit from the introduction of DNA evidence. The bill places a burden on the prosecution to prove that DNA testing is not necessary for the first five years after conviction, and then switches the burden to the defense to show that there is justification for proceeding with new DNA testing. Legislative details on HR 5107 are available here. House Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner has issued this press release on the bill's passage. AP has more.

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