DNA testing is evidence that can meet the standard when addressing actual innocence claims. Unlike post-conviction confessions or recantations historically distrusted, see Johnson v. State, 36 Conn. App. 59, 69 (1994)(“Recantation as grounds for a new trial has always been viewed with skepticism”). In addition, exculpatory DNA results are objective, precise and absolutely reliable. Cf. State v. Hammond, 221 Conn. at 279-89 (Supreme Court concluding that it could not get disputed, based on uncontroverted blood typing and DNA evidence. They also claim that the accused committing sexual assault did not have scientifically possibility).
DNA as Evidence
While the significance of an inclusion or “match” produced by DNA testing has been the subject of dispute in courts of several jurisdictions, evidence of a DNA exclusion has never been the subject of serious scientific or legal controversy. See State v. Hammond, 221 Conn. at 280 n. 8. As discussed above, mtDNA testing that demonstrates that the hairs allegedly recovered by police from Petitioner’s car trunk don’t belong to the victim would contradict the trial evidence and the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom and would thus support petitioner’s claim of actual innocence. See State v. Hammond, 221 Conn. at 268 (“One cogent reason for overturning the verdict of a jury is that the verdict is based on conclusions that are physically impossible”).
The hairs were not cumulative to other trial evidence, but rather represented the only piece of physical evidence directly connecting petitioner to the victim. No other evidence exists found in petitioner’s constructive possession that belonged to or derived from the victim. Because of their importance, the hairs got prominently featured in the State’s summation. (TT. 18/40 (State’s Attorney Connelly: “Hair similar to [the victim’s] got found in [the defendant’s] car with blood on it”); see also 18/39-41, 18/169-70) Consequently, exculpatory mtDNA results, coupled with a proper ruling on the admissibility of presumptive blood test results, see State v. Moody, 214 Conn. at 627-30, would significantly weaken the State’s case.
Further, such exculpatory evidence, coupled with Dr. Wecht’s opinion that the evidence knife (State’s Ex. 69) differed from the knife used to cause the victim’s death, would support petitioner’s actual innocence claim and would alter the outcome of the trial. Accordingly, the significance of the hairs to the State’s case and to petitioner’s claim of actual innocence cannot get minimized, so as to preclude mtDNA analysis.