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Serial Rapist's Requested DNA Test Backfires

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 23, 2011 6:53 AM

There are often stories about how the use of post-conviction DNA testing has exonerated a wrongfully convicted defendant. But, on the flip side, such testing also has the ability to reconfirm a rightful conviction.

And lead to a new one.

At least in the case of convicted serial rapist Timothy Boles, whose request just connected him to an unsolved case.

Convicted in 1993 of sexually assaulting four girls, Timothy Boles asked the Arizona Justice Project to help exonerate him in one of those cases. The organization agreed as there was some evidence that he had been wrongfully convicted.

Not only did it turn out that he was rightfully convicted, but, working on a cold case project, the DNA allowed the Phoenix Police Department to connect him to an unsolved rape that occurred in 1991.

Like most states and the federal government, Arizona has enacted a statute that allows for post-conviction DNA testing if results would have possibly changed the outcome of the original verdict.

However, the Supreme Court has said that access to post-conviction DNA testing is not an absolute constitutional right, instead only requiring that a denial of such access not be arbitrary or "fundamentally inadequate."

Why Timothy Boles decided to purse post-conviction DNA testing through this process when he knew he committed the rape (and several others), we will never know. But let his story serve as a reminder that DNA testing does not only demonstrate when the justice system has gone awry, but when it has done right.

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