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Post Conviction Motions for DNA Testing

Every year there are new advancements in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing, yet in many criminal cases, the evidence gathers was never tested for DNA. A person who believes they were wrongfully convicted can seek to test the DNA evidence in their case to build evidence that they did not commit the crime or to show that another person committed the crime.

In Florida, there is no time limit to file a Rule 3.853 motion for postconviction DNA testing. After the conviction, the defendant can file a motion to obtain DNA testing under sections 925.11 and 925.12, Florida Statutes. In some cases, the results of this DNA testing will constitute "newly discovered evidence" that will form a basis to set aside the conviction in a 3.850 motion.

In some cases, DNA testing is the only way to show that the person was wrongfully convicted and is actually innocent of the crime. If you have questions about DNA testing after a criminal conviction then contact the attorneys at Pumphrey Law in Tallahassee, FL. Call (850) 681-7777 to discuss your case with experienced

Call (850) 681-7777 to discuss your case with experienced criminal appellate attorneys in Florida.


Requirements under Florida's Rule 3.853

Rule 3.853 requires that a motion for DNA testing must demonstrate the following:

  1. a statement of the facts relied upon in support of the motion, including a description of the physical evidence containing DNA to be tested and, if known, the present location or last known location of the evidence and how it originally was obtained;
  2. a statement that the evidence was not previously tested for DNA, or a statement that the results of previous DNA testing were inconclusive and that subsequent scientific developments in DNA testing techniques likely would produce a definitive result establishing that the movant is not the person who committed the crime;
  3. a statement that the movant is innocent and how the DNA testing requested by the motion will exonerate the movant of the crime for which the movant was sentenced, or a statement how the DNA testing will mitigate the sentence received by the movant for that crime; and
  4. a statement that identification of the movant is a genuinely disputed issue in the case and why it is an issue or an explanation of how the DNA evidence would either exonerate the defendant or mitigate the sentence that the movant received.

Lambrix v. State, No. SC16-56, 2017 WL 931105, at *5 (Fla. Mar. 9, 2017).


Factors Leading to a Denial of the Request for DNA Testing

Where a defendant cannot show that DNA will prove or negate a material fact, a request for testing should be denied. Scott v. State, 46 So.3d 529 (Fla. 2009).  In other words, DNA testing will not be permitted if the requested DNA testing would shed no light on the defendant's guilt or innocence. Consalvo v. State, 3 So.3d 1014, 1016 (Fla. 2009). 

The courts in Florida have explained that when a motion for DNA testing is filed “[i]t is the defendant's burden to explain, with reference to specific facts about the crime and the items requested to be tested, how the DNA testing will exonerate the defendant of the crime or will mitigate the defendant's sentence.” Scott v. State, 46 So.3d 529, 533 (Fla. 2009).

“[A] trial court does not err in denying a motion for DNA testing where the defendant cannot show that there is a reasonable probability that the absence or presence of DNA at a crime scene would exonerate him or lessen his sentence.” Id. at 896.


Additional Resources

Innocence Project on Post-Conviction DNA Testing - This article by the Innocence Project explains that why DNA testing has widespread acceptance as a reliable form of forensic evidence that can conclusively reveal guilt or innocence. The article also addresses the problems prisoners have finding the legal means to secure testing on evidence in their case. Find information on federal incentives for granting access to DNA testing.


Finding an Attorney for Post-Conviction DNA Testing in Florida

For these reasons, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced post-conviction attorney in Tallahassee to help you file and litigate the motion for DNA testing. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are experienced criminal trial attorneys. These attorneys are also experienced in fighting cases after the judgment and sentence is imposed during a direct appeal, writ of habeas corpus or a post-conviction motion for ineffective assistance of counsel or newly discovered evidence.

Call the criminal appellate attorneys in Tallahassee, FL, at Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your case. Call (850) 681-7777 today.


This article was last updated on Friday, March 24, 2017.