DNA Identification Evidence in Criminal Prosecutions

Published on March 7, 2010, by LLRX.com (Law and technology resources for legal professionals), Ken Strutin has put together a guide to DNA Identification Evidence in Criminal Prosecutions.

In criminal cases, there have been challenges on sufficiency grounds and concerns over the use of forensic DNA evidence as the sole or primary proof of guilt. Uncorroborated DNA matching might not be enough to satisfy the burden of establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The reliability of forensic DNA testing results might be questioned for any number of reasons, e.g., laboratory error, cross-contamination, interpretive bias or fraud, etc. See generally Tarnish On the ‘Gold Standard’: Recent Problems in Forensic DNA Testing, Champion, Jan./Feb. 2006, at 10.

Studies, standards and case reviews have highlighted the types of miscalculations that can occur and undermine confidence in evidence derived from genetic matching. Every kind of problem from mathematical errors to laboratory mishaps to fakery can plague the presumptive efficacy of DNA testing. This article highlights recent publications that underscore the need for closer scrutiny and weighing of DNA profiling when it is offered as the principal or exclusive evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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