Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Is DNA Evidence Reliable?

DNA has become a major tool for use by police in solving cold cases of murder and other violent crimes. In the past year, about 50 cold cases have been solved nationwide using public genealogy websites. But is this evidence alone reliable?

James H. Manahan, J.D., has written an article in the Lake County (Minnesota) News-Chronicle that tells why DNA evidence alone can be misleading. Manahan cautions that DNA is a great tool but also must always be used in conjunction with old-fashioned police work.

Manahan describes a case when a homeless man was accused of murder, based upon DNA evidence from a 7-year-old cold case. Luckily, the man’s public defender found a subtle problem with the evidence. In short, the DNA evidence obtained was “identified” as coming from the wrong man. Instead of spending the rest of his life in jail, the homeless man was quickly cleared of the crime. Had the public defender not been suspicious, the outcome could have been far different.

The article quotes DNA and genealogy expert CeCe Moore. It also quotes the homeless man, Lukis Anderson, when he got out of jail: “There’s more that’s gotta be looked at than just the DNA. You’ve got to dig deeper. Reanalyze. Do everything all over again before you say, ‘This is what it is.’ Because it may not necessarily be so.”

You can read this interesting story at: http://bit.ly/2TWn6wi.

Categories: Legal Affairs

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