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“Innocence Projects” and Subsequent DNA Testing in Croatia: a Possible Reality or an Unattainable Desire?

Davor Derenčinović ; Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Sunčana Roksandić Vidlička   ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-0330-8540 ; Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Marta Dragičević Prtenjača   ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0001-9666-4765 ; aculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (752 KB) str. 373-404 preuzimanja: 737* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Derenčinović, D., Roksandić Vidlička, S. i Dragičević Prtenjača, M. (2017). “Projekti nedužnosti” i naknadna DNK vještačenja u Republici Hrvatskoj – moguća stvarnost ili nedostižna želja. Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, 67 (3-4), 373-404. Preuzeto s https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928
MLA 8th Edition
Derenčinović, Davor, et al. "“Projekti nedužnosti” i naknadna DNK vještačenja u Republici Hrvatskoj – moguća stvarnost ili nedostižna želja." Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, vol. 67, br. 3-4, 2017, str. 373-404. https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928. Citirano 28.09.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Derenčinović, Davor, Sunčana Roksandić Vidlička i Marta Dragičević Prtenjača. "“Projekti nedužnosti” i naknadna DNK vještačenja u Republici Hrvatskoj – moguća stvarnost ili nedostižna želja." Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu 67, br. 3-4 (2017): 373-404. https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928
Harvard
Derenčinović, D., Roksandić Vidlička, S., i Dragičević Prtenjača, M. (2017). '“Projekti nedužnosti” i naknadna DNK vještačenja u Republici Hrvatskoj – moguća stvarnost ili nedostižna želja', Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, 67(3-4), str. 373-404. Preuzeto s: https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928 (Datum pristupa: 28.09.2021.)
Vancouver
Derenčinović D, Roksandić Vidlička S, Dragičević Prtenjača M. “Projekti nedužnosti” i naknadna DNK vještačenja u Republici Hrvatskoj – moguća stvarnost ili nedostižna želja. Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu [Internet]. 2017 [pristupljeno 28.09.2021.];67(3-4):373-404. Dostupno na: https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928
IEEE
D. Derenčinović, S. Roksandić Vidlička i M. Dragičević Prtenjača, "“Projekti nedužnosti” i naknadna DNK vještačenja u Republici Hrvatskoj – moguća stvarnost ili nedostižna želja", Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta u Zagrebu, vol.67, br. 3-4, str. 373-404, 2017. [Online]. Dostupno na: https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928. [Citirano: 28.09.2021.]

Sažetak
“Innocence Projects”, primarily in the United States, but also in other countries where they have been introduced, allow persons convicted of crimes to have their cases re-examined in order to establish their innocence. In the United States there are various models of “Innocence Projects”. Regardless of the model, one of the key methods used to prove someone´s innocence is DNA testing. This method has resulted in the release of approximately 300 convicted persons in the USA. More importantly, the implementation of “Innocence Projects” leads to a re-examination and correction of errors within the judicial system, possibly resulting in the release of innocent convicted persons. In addition, in a large number of cases, the gathering of DNA evidence has led to the identification and conviction of the real perpetrator.
This paper examines whether “Innocence Projects”, especially those based on subsequent DNA expert testimony, can also be invoked in the Croatian legal system. There is no reason why the development of science and the opportunities it brings should not find a wider application in the Croatian legal system.
The aim and conclusions of this paper concern the following: the implementation of an appropriate model of the various existing “Innocence Projects” in the Croatian legal system and the realization of a project based on the implementation of subsequent DNA expert testimony.
Following research and a subsequent analysis of relevant regulations, the authors suggest that there are no legal obstacles to the introduction and implementation of some of the models of “Innocence Projects” in the Republic of Croatia. However, some observed shortcomings and legal gaps, especially those relating to the storage of evidence that contains biological traces in Croatia, may hamper or slow down a successful implementation of these projects. It is therefore expected that introducing an “Innocence Project” could contribute to the enhancement of the legal regulation on the collection, storage and usage of DNA evidence in criminal proceedings.
The application of Article 501 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which refers to the reopening of criminal proceedings, could serve as the legal basis for correcting the errors made by the judiciary when an innocent person is convicted, imprisoned or sanctioned. However, such a procedure could, in a great majority of cases, be carried out in the course of reopened criminal proceedings only if the biological material is collected, preserved and stored; otherwise, DNA material subsequently collected from convicted persons will provide no factual possibility of comparison.
Furthermore, as their conducted research, the authors propose that “Innocence Projects” would best be implemented through already existing legal clinics, which already have quite substantial experience with providing legal aid, especially at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb. Hence, we are of the opinion that all persons, wrongfully convicted regardless of the offence, should have the possibility to use DNA testing, but only if they might be really truly innocent, i.e. if it is very likely that they are not the perpetrators of the criminal offense of which they have been convicted. Therefore, we propose a model where applicants eligible for legal aid should not only be those that have been wrongfully convicted due to procedural mistakes, but those who have compelling arguments to support their claim of innocence despite the conviction.. According to the authors, a fitting model is one developed at the Cincinnati University Legal Aid Clinic. Preliminary research into whether the person might be truly innocent would be the task of the legal aid provider within the selected “Innocence Project”. After this preliminary research, the legal aid clinic would participate, to the extent possible with regard to Croatian law, in initiating and conducting the procedure of reopening the criminal proceedings. To fulfil the mentioned goals, based on the experiences in the USA, the consequent DNA testing and comparison between kept materials could be the only solution for proving innocence.
Last but not least, a possible implementation of an “Innocence Project” in Croatia would ultimately give legitimacy to the justice system, while recognizing that the system is mature enough to acknowledge and correct its own mistakes.

Ključne riječi
Innocence Projects; DNA; DNA database; subsequent expert testimony; protection of privacy; release of wrongfully convicted (innocent)

Hrčak ID: 186928

URI
https://hrcak.srce.hr/186928

[hrvatski]

Posjeta: 1.193 *