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State of Vermont

Senate Chamber

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint Senate Resolution

   By Senator Sears,

     J.R.S. 33. Joint resolution requesting the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety examine DNA-related exonerations nationally in order to insure the accuracy and fairness of Vermont's criminal justice system.

Whereas, no one benefits from a wrongful conviction except the real perpetrator of crime who eludes justice, and

Whereas, convicting the guilty and protecting the innocent are two fundamental goals of our constitutional criminal justice system, and

Whereas, post-conviction DNA testing has now proven the innocence of 200 wrongfully convicted individuals nationally, and

Whereas, the examination of convictions proven erroneous pursuant to DNA evidence enables law enforcement officials to learn what aspects of the criminal process lead to wrongful convictions, and

Whereas, recognizing and understanding the causes of wrongful convictions enable law enforcement officials to identify means of improving the accuracy of criminal investigations, strengthening criminal prosecutions, and minimizing the possibility of misdirected criminal investigations and wrongful convictions, and

Whereas, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators endorse the creation of state entities to prevent the conviction of persons charged with criminal acts they did not commit, and

Whereas, the American Bar Association has urged federal, state and territorial governments to identify and remedy the causes of wrongful conviction, and the association has adopted a series of positions, policies and reforms directly related to the reduction of wrongful convictions, now therefore be it  

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly supports all efforts on the part of the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety to review DNA exonerations nationally in order to increase the accuracy of Vermont’s criminal investigations, strengthen prosecutions, protect the innocent, and enhance public safety, and be it further

ResolvedThat the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Attorney General William Sorrell and to Commissioner of Public Safety Kerry Sleeper.




____________________________              Attested to:

President of the Senate


____________________________              ____________________________

Speaker of the House                                     David A. Gibson

                                                                      Secretary of the Senate



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont