Strong Reporting on DNA Waivers from the Post

Like Jonathan Adler, I was unaware of a policy that requires some federal defendants to waive their rights to DNA testing as a condition of plea-bargains until I read Jerry Markon’s story in Sunday’s Washington Post.

Markon—who was one of the few legal reporters to turn in a worthwhile live-blog of the Sotomayor confirmation hearings—spells out how the policy came about and examines in detail what its (to my mind, worrisome) consequences may be. He also reports that the policy is now under review by Attorney General Eric Holder, but the article isn’t quite clear about whether that review was precipitated by the Post’s inquiries, so I emailed Markon to ask. His response: “Yes, the DOJ review was definitely initiated after I began making inquiries about the DNA waivers.”

Reached this afternoon, a DOJ spokesman couldn’t immediately confirm what prompted the review. Still, this looks like a great example of what good journalism can accomplish.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.