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This Note argues that due process requires a new trial when scientific evidence necessary to the conviction becomes so unreliable as to call the validity of the jury’s verdict into question. Part I of this Note discusses how scientific evidence is admitted, the procedure for a convicted defendant’s postconviction relief once that evidence is deemed unreliable, and the constitutional protections that a convicted defendant is afforded under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Part II of this Note examines the divide among appellate courts as to whether the Due Process Clause requires a new trial when a conviction is based on evidence that has later been shown to be unreliable. Part III of this Note argues that due process requires a new trial when scientific evidence in the original trial is shown to be sufficiently unreliable as to compromise confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the jury verdict. A conviction later found to be based upon unreliable scientific evidence deprives the defendant of a fundamentally fair trial and thereby violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, under both procedural and substantive due process theories, because it raises an intolerable risk of an inaccurate verdict and undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system. Because the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act impedes the rights of a petitioner to assert his or her fundamental right to a fair trial, this Note argues that the statute, as currently written and applied, should be found unconstitutional under strict scrutiny review. A new trial will ensure that innocent defendants do not fall victim to the inherent shortcomings of the scientific evidence juries so readily embrace.



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