Striving for Justice: DNA Test Comes Too Late to Save Two Men

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The fairness of our criminal justice system has come under the microscope in recent years.
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The fairness of our criminal justice system has come under the microscope in recent years, and it remains one of only a few issues where Democrats and Republicans seem to have common ground and a desire for reform.

But part of getting reform "right" means tackling those hard-to-answer ethical questions that are inherent in the system. Among them is figuring out how much time and resources should be spent on so called "moot" cases — cases where the person or persons convicted of a crime have died in prison. 

That's the topic of this week's Case in Point, our deep dive alongside The Marshall Project into one aspect of the criminal justice system.

Today, we focus on the story of Nathaniel Epps and his brother-in-law, Percell Warren. Both were convicted in 1996 of raping a woman in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2012, Warren died in prison, just a year before advanced DNA testing could have exonerated him. Nathaniel Epps passed away earlier this month, a week after being diagnosed with liver cancer and several years into fighting what his lawyers believe was a wrongful conviction.

Andrew Cohen, commentary editor for The Marshall Project, and Olga Akselrod, senior staff attorney for The Innocence Project and one of the lawyers fighting for Epps, joins The Takeaway to discuss the case and how far we should go in search of justice. 

Read more about this case at The Marshall Project.