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Board Resolution ~ 05/01/2004

Opposing the Use of John Doe DNA Warrants & Indcitments

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Opposing the Use of John Doe DNA Warrants & Indcitments 

Nashville, Tennessee

May 1, 2004

WHEREAS there is an alarming trend developing in the states to issue arrest warrants, or indictments, against specified DNA profiles;

WHEREAS John Doe DNA warrants and indictments require the collection and testing of crime scene evidence within the statute of limitations and require a finding of probable cause that the individual whose genetic profile is described in the warrant or indictment committed charged offense;

WHEREAS John Doe DNA warrants and indictments, which identify the accused by his or her genetic profile have been used to commence criminal prosecutions where an identifiable individual is unknown;

WHEREAS years, or even decades, can pass before the genetic profile that has been identified is matched to an individual;

WHEREAS DNA evidence is neither permanent nor incontrovertible, since DNA samples will degrade over time, even under optimal conditions and errors in the collection, handling and storage of DNA samples can result in errors in identification thereby causing the prosecution of innocent people;

WHEREAS various errors can occur with the use of DNA samples, among which are errors in the handling of samples, contamination by the inadvertent transfer of DNA and reporting errors;

WHEREAS DNA is but one tool of many that should be utilized in determining whether an individual is responsible for a particular crime;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers opposes the use of John Doe DNA warrants or indictments because those charged in such a manner could be seriously hampered in their ability to mount an effective defense.

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