Misleading DNA Evidence

Misleading DNA Evidence
Author: Peter Gill
Publsiher: Elsevier
Total Pages: 100
Release: 2014-06-18
Genre: Law
ISBN: 9780124172203

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Misleading DNA Evidence: A Guide for Scientists, Judges, and Lawyers presents the reasons miscarriages of justice can occur when dealing with DNA, what the role of the forensic scientist is throughout the process, and how judges and lawyers can educate themselves about all of the possibilities to consider when dealing with cases that involve DNA evidence. DNA has become the gold standard by which a person can be placed at the scene of a crime, and the past decade has seen great advances in this powerful crime solving tool. But the statistics that analysts can attach to DNA evidence often vary, and in some cases the statistical weight assigned to that match, can vary enormously. The numbers provided to juries often overstate the evidence, and can result in a wrongful conviction. In addition to statistics, the way the evidence is collected, stored and analyzed can also result in a wrongful conviction due to contamination. This book reviews high-profile and somewhat contentious cases to illustrate these points, including the death of Meredith Kercher. It examines crucial topics such as characterization of errors and determination of error rates, reporting DNA profiles and the source and sub-source levels, and the essentials of statement writing. It is a concise, readable resource that will help not only scientists, but legal professionals with limited scientific backgrounds, to understand the intricacies of DNA use in the justice system. Ideal reference for scientists and for those without extensive scientific backgrounds Written by one of the pioneers in forensic DNA typing and interpretation of DNA profiling results Ideal format for travel, court environments, or wherever easy access to reference material is vital

The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence

The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence
Author: National Research Council,Division on Earth and Life Studies,Commission on Life Sciences,Committee on DNA Forensic Science: An Update
Publsiher: National Academies Press
Total Pages: 274
Release: 1996-12-12
Genre: Science
ISBN: 0309053951

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In 1992 the National Research Council issued DNA Technology in Forensic Science, a book that documented the state of the art in this emerging field. Recently, this volume was brought to worldwide attention in the murder trial of celebrity O. J. Simpson. The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence reports on developments in population genetics and statistics since the original volume was published. The committee comments on statements in the original book that proved controversial or that have been misapplied in the courts. This volume offers recommendations for handling DNA samples, performing calculations, and other aspects of using DNA as a forensic toolâ€"modifying some recommendations presented in the 1992 volume. The update addresses two major areas: Determination of DNA profiles. The committee considers how laboratory errors (particularly false matches) can arise, how errors might be reduced, and how to take into account the fact that the error rate can never be reduced to zero. Interpretation of a finding that the DNA profile of a suspect or victim matches the evidence DNA. The committee addresses controversies in population genetics, exploring the problems that arise from the mixture of groups and subgroups in the American population and how this substructure can be accounted for in calculating frequencies. This volume examines statistical issues in interpreting frequencies as probabilities, including adjustments when a suspect is found through a database search. The committee includes a detailed discussion of what its recommendations would mean in the courtroom, with numerous case citations. By resolving several remaining issues in the evaluation of this increasingly important area of forensic evidence, this technical update will be important to forensic scientists and population geneticistsâ€"and helpful to attorneys, judges, and others who need to understand DNA and the law. Anyone working in laboratories and in the courts or anyone studying this issue should own this book.

DNA Technology in Forensic Science

DNA Technology in Forensic Science
Author: National Research Council,Division on Earth and Life Studies,Commission on Life Sciences,Committee on DNA Technology in Forensic Science
Publsiher: National Academies Press
Total Pages: 199
Release: 1992-02-01
Genre: Science
ISBN: 9780309045872

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Matching DNA samples from crime scenes and suspects is rapidly becoming a key source of evidence for use in our justice system. DNA Technology in Forensic Science offers recommendations for resolving crucial questions that are emerging as DNA typing becomes more widespread. The volume addresses key issues: Quality and reliability in DNA typing, including the introduction of new technologies, problems of standardization, and approaches to certification. DNA typing in the courtroom, including issues of population genetics, levels of understanding among judges and juries, and admissibility. Societal issues, such as privacy of DNA data, storage of samples and data, and the rights of defendants to quality testing technology. Combining this original volume with the new update-The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence-provides the complete, up-to-date picture of this highly important and visible topic. This volume offers important guidance to anyone working with this emerging law enforcement tool: policymakers, specialists in criminal law, forensic scientists, geneticists, researchers, faculty, and students.

Inside the Cell

Inside the Cell
Author: Erin E. Murphy
Publsiher: Bold Type Books
Total Pages: 400
Release: 2015-10-06
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 9781568584706

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Josiah Sutton was convicted of rape. He was five inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter than the suspect described by the victim, but at trial a lab analyst testified that his DNA was found at the crime scene. His case looked like many others -- arrest, swab, match, conviction. But there was just one problem -- Sutton was innocent. We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of "stop and spit." DNA testing is rightly seen as a transformative technological breakthrough, but we should be wary of placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of the same broken criminal justice system that has produced mass incarceration, privileged government interests over personal privacy, and all too often enforced the law in a biased or unjust manner. Inside the Cell exposes the truth about forensic DNA, and shows us what it will take to harness the power of genetic identification in service of accuracy and fairness.

Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States

Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States
Author: National Research Council,Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences,Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics,Policy and Global Affairs,Committee on Science, Technology, and Law,Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community
Publsiher: National Academies Press
Total Pages: 348
Release: 2009-07-29
Genre: Law
ISBN: 9780309142397

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Scores of talented and dedicated people serve the forensic science community, performing vitally important work. However, they are often constrained by lack of adequate resources, sound policies, and national support. It is clear that change and advancements, both systematic and scientific, are needed in a number of forensic science disciplines to ensure the reliability of work, establish enforceable standards, and promote best practices with consistent application. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward provides a detailed plan for addressing these needs and suggests the creation of a new government entity, the National Institute of Forensic Science, to establish and enforce standards within the forensic science community. The benefits of improving and regulating the forensic science disciplines are clear: assisting law enforcement officials, enhancing homeland security, and reducing the risk of wrongful conviction and exoneration. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States gives a full account of what is needed to advance the forensic science disciplines, including upgrading of systems and organizational structures, better training, widespread adoption of uniform and enforceable best practices, and mandatory certification and accreditation programs. While this book provides an essential call-to-action for congress and policy makers, it also serves as a vital tool for law enforcement agencies, criminal prosecutors and attorneys, and forensic science educators.

Interpreting Evidence

Interpreting Evidence
Author: Bernard Robertson,G. A. Vignaux,Charles E. H. Berger
Publsiher: John Wiley & Sons
Total Pages: 216
Release: 2016-07-28
Genre: Medical
ISBN: 9781118492451

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This book explains the correct logical approach to analysis of forensic scientific evidence. The focus is on general methods of analysis applicable to all forms of evidence. It starts by explaining the general principles and then applies them to issues in DNA and other important forms of scientific evidence as examples. Like the first edition, the book analyses real legal cases and judgments rather than hypothetical examples and shows how the problems perceived in those cases would have been solved by a correct logical approach. The book is written to be understood both by forensic scientists preparing their evidence and by lawyers and judges who have to deal with it. The analysis is tied back both to basic scientific principles and to the principles of the law of evidence. This book will also be essential reading for law students taking evidence or forensic science papers and science students studying the application of their scientific specialisation to forensic questions.

Investigation of the Effect of Time and Surface Type on Amplicon Contamination of DNA Profiles

Investigation of the Effect of Time and Surface Type on Amplicon Contamination of DNA Profiles
Author: Arwa Hashem Mohamed Al-Hanbali,University of Western Australia. Centre for Forensic Science
Publsiher: Unknown
Total Pages: 230
Release: 2010
Genre: DNA
ISBN: OCLC:903685025

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Forensic analysis of the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) obtained from biological evidence, such as blood or cellular samples, commonly known as DNA profiling or DNA typing , has become an important tool for individual identification in the criminal justice system. However, the disturbing possibility of deliberate contamination of the DNA evidence at the crime scene still exists. Accidental DNA contamination is widely researched and many preventative procedures have been put in place to eliminate this form of DNA contamination. On the other hand, deliberate DNA contamination of the DNA evidence at the crime scene has not been discussed in much detail. The deliberate contamination of the DNA either by planting a person s DNA at a crime scene or by contaminated the forensic evidence samples using another person s DNA amplicons still exists. Both can produce misleading DNA profiles. The current study shows that the deliberate contamination of the biological samples with amplicons under simulated crime scene conditions resulted in an alteration to the DNA profile of the original genomic DNA. Not only do immediate additions of PCR amplicons to samples alter the genomic DNA profiles, amplicons remain present in the genomic DNA profiles even after a period of up to seven weeks under the conditions used in this study. However, the alteration of the genomic DNA with amplicons contamination is not obvious after a period of five weeks. Amplicons alleles were still present but there was a drop-off of fluorescence intensity of the alleles and these peaks could be dismissed as stutter peaks. The study also showed that the surface type can influence the recovery of biological samples; however, in all cases the recovery of contaminant amplicons was observed from the swabbed surfaces. Previous studies show that the use of substrate controls in DNA analysis has limited value (Gill, 1996) in contrast, this study suggest that swabs an area adjacent to a sample or stain at the crime scene, may be useful in detecting the presence of amplicon contamination at crime scenes. Finally this study has verified that a hair washing step before DNA extraction can eliminate amplicon contamination of hair samples.

Interpreting Complex Forensic DNA Evidence

Interpreting Complex Forensic DNA Evidence
Author: Jane Moira Taupin
Publsiher: CRC Press
Total Pages: 162
Release: 2019-11-14
Genre: Law
ISBN: 9781351023771

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Interpreting Complex Forensic DNA Evidence is a handy guide to recent advances—and emerging issues—in interpreting complex DNA evidence and profiles for use in criminal investigations. In certain cases, DNA cannot be connected to a specific biological material such as blood, semen or saliva. How or when the DNA was deposited may be an issue. The possibility of generating DNA profiles from touched objects, where there may not be a visible deposit, has expanded the scope and number of exhibits submitted for DNA analysis. With such advances, and increasing improvements in technological capabilities in testing samples, this means it is possible to detect ever smaller amounts of DNA. There are also many efforts underway to seek was to interpret DNA profiles that are sub-optimal—either relative to the amount required by the testing kit and, potentially, the quality of the obtained sample. Laboratories often use enhancements in order to obtain a readable DNA profile. The broad-reaching implications of improving DNA sensitivity have led to this next, emerging generation of more complex profiles. Examples partial profiles that do not faithfully reflect the proposed donor, or mixtures of partial DNA from multiple people. A complexity threshold has been proposed to limit interpretation of poor-quality data. Research is now addressing the interpretation of transfer of trace amounts of DNA. Complex issues are arising in trial that need to be reconciled as such complexity has added challenges to the interpretation of evidence and its introduction or dismissal in certain cases in the courts. Key Features: Addresses DNA transfer, from person-to-person as well as to objects Outlines each stage required to produce a DNA profile from an exhibit—including collection, handling, storage, and analysis Discusses ethics, subjectivity, and bias—including cognitive dissonance—as they relate specifically to complex DNA evidence Highlights current techniques and the latest advances in DNA analysis, including advances in familial DNA searches Interpreting Complex Forensic DNA Evidence provides tools to assist the criminal investigator, forensic expert, and legal professional when posed with a DNA result in a forensic report or testimony. The result—and any associated statistic—may not reveal any ambiguity, complexity, or the assumptions involved in deriving it. Questions from resolved criminal cases are posed, and the relevant forensic literature, provided for the reader to assess a DNA result and any associated statistic. Case studies throughout illustrate concepts and emphasize the need for conclusions in the forensic report that are supported by the data.