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A California judge ordered Ronald Ross' release from prison on Friday after he spent nearly seven years behind bars for an attempted murder he did not commit. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Ronald Ross was convicted for an April 15, 2006, Oakland shooting incident based largely on the victim's identification in a photo lineup and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Ross' trial attorney brought the case to the Northern California Innocence Project for further investigation, which revealed that Oakland police had not followed through on a strong lead to a different suspect. The man now suspected in the shooting has since been arrested for an Oakland crime spree in July 2011.
A second review of the case conducted by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office concluded that Ross's conviction should be thrown out in light of new evidence of his innocence. If the conviction had not been vacated, Ross could have spent the rest of his life behind bars.
Read news coverage and watch a CBS video of Ross after he was released.
An op-ed by William S. Sessions, former director of the FBI, appeared in Sunday's edition of the Courier-Journal, Kentucky's largest newspaper. In the piece, Sessions endorsed two bills currently pending in the Kentucky Legislature that would improve access to post-conviction DNA testing in the state. Sessions writes about witnessing DNA testing evolve into a "powerful tool for separating the innocent from the guilty" during his tenure as FBI director and urges Kentucky lawmakers to begin using DNA technology to its full potential.
On February 11, the Kentucky Senate unanimously passed a version of the bill that would exclude those who pled guilty or accepted an Alford plea from receiving post-conviction DNA testing. Sessions addresses his concerns with these exceptions in his op-ed:
The Senate bill has since moved on to the House where members are also considering Representative Bell's bill, which does not currently include this exception.
Read the full op-ed.
More about access to DNA testing.
Learn about your state's law granting access to testing.