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§ 9543.1. Postconviction DNA testing

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 42 Pa.C.S.A. Judiciary and Judicial ProcedureEffective: September 9, 2002

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 42 Pa.C.S.A. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure (Refs & Annos)
Part VIII. Criminal Proceedings
Chapter 95. Post-Trial Matters
Subchapter B. Post Conviction Relief (Refs & Annos)
Effective: September 9, 2002
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9543.1
§ 9543.1. Postconviction DNA testing
(a) Motion.--
(1) An individual convicted of a criminal offense in a court of this Commonwealth and serving a term of imprisonment or awaiting execution because of a sentence of death may apply by making a written motion to the sentencing court for the performance of forensic DNA testing on specific evidence that is related to the investigation or prosecution that resulted in the judgment of conviction.
(2) The evidence may have been discovered either prior to or after the applicant's conviction. The evidence shall be available for testing as of the date of the motion. If the evidence was discovered prior to the applicant's conviction, the evidence shall not have been subject to the DNA testing requested because the technology for testing was not in existence at the time of the trial or the applicant's counsel did not seek testing at the time of the trial in a case where a verdict was rendered on or before January 1, 1995, or the applicant's counsel sought funds from the court to pay for the testing because his client was indigent and the court refused the request despite the client's indigency.
(b) Notice to the Commonwealth.--
(1) Upon receipt of a motion under subsection (a), the court shall notify the Commonwealth and shall afford the Commonwealth an opportunity to respond to the motion.
(2) Upon receipt of a motion under subsection (a) or notice of the motion, as applicable, the Commonwealth and the court shall take the steps reasonably necessary to ensure that any remaining biological material in the possession of the Commonwealth or the court is preserved pending the completion of the proceedings under this section.
(c) Requirements.--In any motion under subsection (a), under penalty of perjury, the applicant shall:
(1) (i) specify the evidence to be tested;
(ii) state that the applicant consents to provide samples of bodily fluid for use in the DNA testing; and
(iii) acknowledge that the applicant understands that, if the motion is granted, any data obtained from any DNA samples or test results may be entered into law enforcement databases, may be used in the investigation of other crimes and may be used as evidence against the applicant in other cases.
(2) (i) assert the applicant's actual innocence of the offense for which the applicant was convicted; and
(ii) in a capital case:
(A) assert the applicant's actual innocence of the charged or uncharged conduct constituting an aggravating circumstance under section 9711(d) (relating to sentencing procedure for murder of the first degree) if the applicant's exoneration of the conduct would result in vacating a sentence of death; or
(B) assert that the outcome of the DNA testing would establish a mitigating circumstance under section 9711(e)(7) if that mitigating circumstance was presented to the sentencing judge or jury and facts as to that issue were in dispute at the sentencing hearing.
(3) present a prima facie case demonstrating that the:
(i) identity of or the participation in the crime by the perpetrator was at issue in the proceedings that resulted in the applicant's conviction and sentencing; and
(ii) DNA testing of the specific evidence, assuming exculpatory results, would establish:
(A) the applicant's actual innocence of the offense for which the applicant was convicted;
(B) in a capital case, the applicant's actual innocence of the charged or uncharged conduct constituting an aggravating circumstance under section 9711(d) if the applicant's exoneration of the conduct would result in vacating a sentence of death; or
(C) in a capital case, a mitigating circumstance under section 9711(e)(7) under the circumstances set forth in subsection (c)(1)(iv).
(d) Order.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the court shall order the testing requested in a motion under subsection (a) under reasonable conditions designed to preserve the integrity of the evidence and the testing process upon a determination, after review of the record of the applicant's trial, that the:
(i) requirements of subsection (c) have been met;
(ii) evidence to be tested has been subject to a chain of custody sufficient to establish that it has not been altered in any material respect; and
(iii) motion is made in a timely manner and for the purpose of demonstrating the applicant's actual innocence and not to delay the execution of sentence or administration of justice.
(2) The court shall not order the testing requested in a motion under subsection (a) if, after review of the record of the applicant's trial, the court determines that there is no reasonable possibility that the testing would produce exculpatory evidence that:
(i) would establish the applicant's actual innocence of the offense for which the applicant was convicted;
(ii) in a capital case, would establish the applicant's actual innocence of the charged or uncharged conduct constituting an aggravating circumstance under section 9711(d) if the applicant's exoneration of the conduct would result in vacating a sentence of death; or
(iii) in a capital case, would establish a mitigating circumstance under section 9711(e)(7) under the circumstances set forth in subsection (c)(1)(iv).
(e) Testing procedures.--
(1) Any DNA testing ordered under this section shall be conducted by:
(i) a laboratory mutually selected by the Commonwealth and the applicant;
(ii) if the Commonwealth and the applicant are unable to agree on a laboratory, a laboratory selected by the court that ordered the testing; or
(iii) if the applicant is indigent, the testing shall be conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police or, at the Pennsylvania State Police's sole discretion, by a laboratory designated by the Pennsylvania State Police.
(2) The costs of any testing ordered under this section shall be paid:
(i) by the applicant; or
(ii) in the case of an applicant who is indigent, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(3) Testing conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police shall be carried out in accordance with the protocols and procedures established by the Pennsylvania State Police.
(f) Posttesting procedures.--
(1) After the DNA testing conducted under this section has been completed, the applicant may, pursuant to section 9545(b)(2) (relating to jurisdiction and proceedings), during the 60-day period beginning on the date on which the applicant is notified of the test results, petition to the court for postconviction relief pursuant to section 9543(a)(2)(vi) (relating to eligibility for relief).
(2) Upon receipt of a petition filed under paragraph (1), the court shall consider the petition along with any answer filed by the Commonwealth and shall conduct a hearing thereon.
(3) In any hearing on a petition for postconviction relief filed under paragraph (1), the court shall determine whether the exculpatory evidence resulting from the DNA testing conducted under this section would have changed the outcome of the trial as required by section 9543(a)(2)(vi).
(g) Effect of motion.--The filing of a motion for forensic DNA testing pursuant to subsection (a) shall have the following effect:
(1) The filing of the motion shall constitute the applicant's consent to provide samples of bodily fluid for use in the DNA testing.
(2) The data from any DNA samples or test results obtained as a result of the motion may be entered into law enforcement databases, may be used in the investigation of other crimes and may be used as evidence against the applicant in other cases.
(h) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:
“Applicant.” The individual who files a motion under subsection (a).
“DNA.” Deoxyribonucleic acid.

Credits

2002, July 10, P.L. 745, No. 109, § 1, effective in 60 days.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9543.1, PA ST 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9543.1
Current through 2018 Regular Session Act 76
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