Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

David Brian Sutherlin

First NameDavid Brian
Last NameSutherlin
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration2002
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionMinnesota
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Non-probative)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Victim an AB secretor, PGM 1+; Sutherlin a B secretor, PGM 2+1+. Swab was PGM 2+1+. “Q. So that test – you can’t tell anything about the donor because she masks all of those blood groupings? A. That is correct.” The analyst further testified that approximately 22% of the population has PGM 2+1+.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses3
Lineup Procedures
  • Lineup
Suggestive Procedures

No (unknown)

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Discrepancies in description – hair, facial hair ● Uncertain at trial (news accounts)

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jackson Claim
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Sutherlin, 393 N.W.2d 394 (Minn. App. 1986)

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