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Oklahoma Considers DNA Testing for Convicted Criminals

Oklahoma's Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a measure that would allow convicted criminals to request DNA testing of evidence, the Associated Press reports.

The committee passed the proposal called the Postconviction DNA Act 8-0 this week. Sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jim Halligan of Stillwater, the bill would create a process by which convicted criminals can have DNA testing performed on evidence in their cases. According to the AP, if the bill passes, Oklahoma would be the last state in the US to implement such a program.

The measure requires passage by the entire Oklahoma Senate before the state's House of Representatives takes it up for consideration.

The state's chief public defender tells AP that DNA testing done after conviction has exonerated more than 300 people nationally "in the last few decades," including almost one dozen in Oklahoma.