The Champion

April 2003 , Page 16 

Search the Champion Looking for something specific?

Preview of Member Only Content

For full access: login or Become a Member Join Now

Evaluating forensic DNA evidence: Essential elements of a competent defense review

By William C. Thompson; Simon Ford; Travis Doom; Michael Raymer; Dan E. Krane

 

“I get a sinking feeling when I hear a client has been fingered by a DNA test,” a defense lawyer recently told us. “Seems there’s not much I can do but negotiate a guilty plea.” 

Promoters of forensic DNA testing have done a good job selling the public, and even many criminal defense lawyers, on the idea that DNA tests provide a unique and infallible identification. DNA evidence has sent thousands of people to prison and, in recent years, has played a vital role in exonerating men who were falsely convicted. Even former critics of DNA testing, like Barry Scheck, are widely quoted attesting to the reliability of the DNA evidence in their cases. It is easy to assume that any past problems with DNA evidence have been worked out and that the tests are now unassailable.  

The problem with this assumption is that it ignores case-to-case variations in the nature and quality of DNA evidence. Although DNA technology has indeed improved since it was first used just 15 years ago, and

Want to read more?

The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.

NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.
login

Not a member? Join now.
Join Now
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.

See what NACDL members say about us.

To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.

  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
  • Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.

In This Section

Advertisement Advertise with Us
ad