You probably believe that lab findings related to DNA at a crime scene are completely credible if you are like most people. Something everyone should recognize and remember however, is that we rely on humans to conduct these protocols and procedures. As a result, and as you may have guessed, it is subject to potential error. It is much more complicated than it appears on television when it comes to correctly matching DNA samples, to be sure the tests are accurate. There are specific recommendations related to such evidence below since the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has acknowledged that there are clear gaps in comparison methods in DNA samples in fact. We at Kajioka & Associates, Attorneys at Law would like to further discuss challenging DNA evidence in court. Complex mixtures involved in DNA testing must be more standardized, objective, and quantifiable, so there should be ongoing evaluations of feature-matching methods and technologies.
Chain of Custody in Forensics
At many points along the way in a criminal investigation, DNA evidence could potentially be contaminated. The many people who interact with or test this material should all be considered. For example:
– At a crime scene, multiple individuals are generally present.
– The evidence is collected by someone.
– As it makes its way to a lab, that evidence is handled by individuals.
– The evidence is analyzed by forensic scientists.
It can be difficult to trust results if anyone involved in the chain of custody handles the material improperly, if certain results become a priority because they fit a particular hypothesis, if imprecise measurements are taken, while other evidence is pushed aside. Though there may be no malice or ill intent by those connected to the evidence, it does not mean errors don’t occur.
There are a number of other factors that could impact the reliability of DNA evidence below in addition to potential problems with the chain of custody.
– Has quality of the sample been compromised moisture, moisture, temperature, or other environmental factors?
– Was the quantity of a specific sample sufficient to get results that is reliable?
– Does the evidence sample belong to someone who happened to be in the area around the time of the crime, or to a guilty party?
Bias in a Lab
Studies reveal the opposite is true as it seems as though science should be cut and dried. In some cases, they are more likely to match the evidence with that person when DNA scientists are notified that someone in particular is viewed as a key suspect by prosecutors. For anyone facing a conviction based on DNA evidence, this alone should give anyone pause.
Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Business Attorneys & More in Greater Las Vegas, Nevada
Direct to law enforcement and forensics experts, an experienced defense attorney will have a lot of questions. A strong defense involves issues related to the collection, labeling, storage and comparison testing of DNA samples. Also, the experience and training of police and technicians will be relevantly questioned and scrutinized. If you have criminal charges in Las Vegas and surrounding areas, contact Kajioka & Associates, Attorneys at Law for a consultation.