Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–4131. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Actual innocence” or “actually innocent” means that the person did not commit the crime of which he or she was convicted.

(2) “Biological material” means the contents of a sexual assault examination kit, bodily fluids (including, but not limited to, blood, semen, saliva, and vaginal fluid), hair, skin tissue, fingernail scrapings, bone, or other human DNA source matter which apparently derived from the perpetrator of a crime or, under circumstances that may be probative of the perpetrator’s identity, apparently derived from the victim of a crime. This definition applies equally to material that is present on other evidence, including, but not limited to, clothing, ligatures, bedding or other household material, drinking cups, or cigarettes, and to material that is recovered from evidence and thereafter maintained separately from that evidence, including, but not limited to, on a slide, on a swab, in cuttings, or in scrapings.

(3) “Crime of violence” means the crimes cited in § 23-1331(4).

(4) “DNA” means deoxyribonucleic acid.

(5) “DNA testing” means forensic DNA analysis of biological material.

(6) “Law enforcement agencies” means the Metropolitan Police Department, the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia, prosecutors, or any other governmental agency that has the authority to investigate, make arrests for, or prosecute or adjudicate District of Columbia criminal or delinquency offenses. The term “law enforcement agencies” shall include law enforcement agencies that have entered into cooperative agreements with the Metropolitan Police Department pursuant to § 5-133.17, to the extent the law enforcement agency is acting pursuant to such a cooperative agreement.

(7) “New evidence” means evidence that:

(A) Was not personally known and could not, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, have been personally known to the movant at the time of the trial or the plea proceeding;

(B) Was personally known to the movant at the time of the trial or the plea proceeding, but could not be produced at that time because:

(i) The presence or the testimony of a witness could not be compelled or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence by the movant, otherwise obtained; or

(ii) Physical evidence, in the exercise of the movant’s reasonable diligence, could not be obtained; or

(C) Was obtained as a result of post-conviction DNA testing.


(May 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-134, § 2, 49 DCR 408; June 19, 2013, D.C. Law 19-320, § 510, 60 DCR 3390.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-113.32 and § 22-4133.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-320, in (2), substituted “the contents of a sexual assault examination kit, bodily fluids (including, but not limited to, blood, semen, saliva, and vaginal fluid), hair, skin tissue, fingernail scrapings, bone, or other human DNA source matter” for “a sexual assault forensic examination kit, semen, vaginal fluid, blood, saliva, visible skin tissue, or hair” and added the last sentence.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of (2), see § 510 of the Omnibus Criminal Code Amendments Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-599, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1017).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 510 of the Omnibus Criminal Code Amendment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-44, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5381, 20 DCSTAT 1281).