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Is DNA reliable evidence?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2020 | criminal defense

When first introduced as a forensic tool, DNA testing was almost a miracle. Officials have successfully used it to free innocent people from prison and to catch many criminals. However, this is changing. When it comes to DNA testing, the advancements in technology are not improving it. They are making it less reliable, which is a serious issue for anyone accused of a crime.

The Atlantic explains that the original use of DNA required a large sample of bodily fluid. Today’s testing is possible with a very small sample. This introduces problems with transfer DNA. You leave your DNA anywhere you go, and others can transfer your DNA to wherever you go. This makes it possible for your DNA to show up at a place where you have never been.

Furthermore, DNA testing requires special skills. From gathering to reading results, a person must have training and must be able to recognize the small details that set DNA samples apart. Many errors occur in collection procedures alone. An error means the DNA test could implicate the wrong person or possible exclude the guilty person.

If juries and courts maintain the flawless nature of DNA as indisputable evidence, it is likely that more wrongful convictions will occur. They need to be aware of how easy it is for this testing to go wrong. They need to understand more about how it works. They also need to know about transfer DNA. Such education should be an important part of the defense in any case where the prosecution will introduce DNA evidence to ensure a fair trial.