Judgment on DNA evidence
What happens when the DNA evidence, with his "yes" or "no" on the terms the question, are facing a legal system where discretion determines guilt?
The use of DNA evidence has become professionalized, but still there are many pitfalls associated with the use of DNA evidence in court.
In 2003, a man convicted of robbery of a watchmaker. His trail of blood found at the scene, and the probability that it belongs to suspects regarded as one million times more likely than alternative explanations.
Evidence is otherwise thin, and the DNA match is the crucial evidence. In 2006, acquitted a man on suspicion of arson, vandalism and theft at a disco.
This is also one to a million chance that the sample is suspected of his, but DNA evidence "can not stand alone," said the judgment.
- In criminal law, there is something alluring with DNA evidence, because it is so absolute.
- In many ways one can compare it with the bar codes on items you have - this is your bar code.
She has produced a book and a report on the legal protection through the use of DNA evidence, which describes how DNA evidence is an invaluable tool that should be handled with caution.
In 2008, the so-called DNA-reform, and after it grew registers violently. When it reform wanted to open up for increased use of DNA evidence, it was to do something an everyday crime that affects most people.
Before it was put into effect some used only the evidence in serious criminal cases, mostly by rape and murder. Now they can be used against anyone suspected of a crime for which a prison sentence.
The reform gave immediate results. The number of submitted samples of tracks related to everyday crime doubled in six months. Now, the example easier to catch criminals and repeat offenders expose organized crime across national borders.
While increased use of resources, for Forensic Medicine Institute (RMI) has a duty to analyze all samples submitted. RMI analyze all DNA samples of the legal system. At first coat Mon swabs everywhere and sent the samples that could provide DNA profile, but only gave a lot of extra work.
Then you had to look at what is actually worth to submit. The blood samples bad performance to produce a DNA profile in as many as 85 percent of cases, whereas with deposited on the handle is the success rate only 5-15 per cent.
It has gradually been limited most meaningless analytical work, but beyond the technical reform offers other challenges. The DNA evidence is not always as easy to use in court.
- When DNA evidence was mainly used in rape cases, there was a much clearer link between DNA evidence and criminal activity. Do we have with proceeds of crime to do, it is difficult to say whether the proven presence at the crime scene is linked to the crime.
- There has been a natural scientific world of justice, but the scientific argument based on much more reliable knowledge than the legal system does. You have an exact proof, but put it into a system that is somewhat loose and round.
Science in the courtroom
For DNA evidence in court is worth reporting. After completing the analysis, RMI sends a report to the court, and to improve the procedures surrounding this report is a primary concern.
To assess the value of DNA evidence must also, those who examine DNA samples, clearly communicate what they found.
- Reports can be made more accessible by being more systematic. When right geneticist must interpret the findings arising challenges in how they should be described. If you use the standard formulation of the Court will quickly understand what is meant.
For example, routines differently. Where they are availing themselves of standard formulations and a so-called likelihood ratio - a probability calculation set against a hypothesis, "find out if the DNA sample from this track matches with this person."
The ratio may be 1:1 000 000, which means "extremely high" probability that the hypothesis is correct. The system will make it easier for the court to understand the evidence the weight.
- The scientific concept of probability is entirely different than the law. A purely statistical, theoretical probability that something is wrong is not the same as the term "reasonable doubt" in criminal justice.
The Forensic Medicine, which controls RMIs work, have complained that standardization is not used. In the Ministry of Justice and Police concludes that "the content and layout of the reports is not sufficiently optimal, and using the likelihood ratio is one of the measures recommended.
Erroneous transactions from actors in court is another central legal challenge that may arise because the assessment of the evidence room for discretion.
- Right Geneticist can only provide answers to the question of results, and then assessment of evidence consider whether there might be a misguided, if another person can be the source, the suspect has an alibi, and so on.
- Assessment of evidence have to look at the question of guilt in full, and should have something more than DNA evidence to rely on. Touch-DNA in a crime for profit may have a limited value when determining guilt, says Aarli.
DNA evidence thrown
When DNA is analyzed and a DNA profile is obtained, can not the biological material is stored on. If the case is concluded without a conviction will also result of the analysis - DNA profile - deleted.
- To balance the need for privacy and desire to fight crime and ensure legal certainty is difficult. After the establishment of a Commission reopened reopening old cases more often than before, but the current situation can not be DNA samples stored for a long time, and can therefore not be used as a basis for reopening a case. It can be problematic.
- Because the science is constantly evolving there may come a day when we discover that the standards we use are not good enough and that you have made a wrong conviction. As it is now, it is not possible to omtype a profile for new standards because the biological material is thrown.
RMI currently has a monopoly on DNA analysis for criminal justice. In report points out that a monopoly institution that does not need to make themselves attractive may be slower to respond to external demands for change.
The academic community is small, but there has been talk of putting in place a supplementary analysis laboratory the need for a so-called "second opinion" is an important argument to establish such an alternative laboratory.
- As long as you only have one assay institution with a monopoly, it is difficult for the defender to contest the DNA evidence. To the extent that the evidence would be of crucial importance, it should be tested by an independent body, and it is the poor opportunities for today.