Reed v. Goertz
Reed v. Goertz is a case brought by an incarcerated person, Rodney Reed, who is challenging the denial of DNA testing to prove his innocence. The case is procedural but important for those incarcerated people seeking DNA testing. The Supreme Court allows incarcerated people to file a federal civil rights lawsuit to vindicate that right when states deny due process: generally meaning a fair procedure. Reed argues that the state’s procedures for DNA testing are unfair for multiple reasons, but here, he argues the state statute of limitations in the case should be held only to start once the initial state challenge to denial of DNA testing is over, including appeals. The state, through local district attorney Bryan Goertz argues that the state trial court’s earlier denial of the testing should start the clock for the statute of limitations.
If Goertz’ position wins, DNA testing would become much harder when a federal civil rights lawsuit is filed to vindicate the right of fair procedures.
If Reed’s position wins, it would enable incarcerated people to file these federal lawsuits after they go through the appeals process in state courts.