Rethinking DNA Evidence
I've been curious about DNA evidence ever since it became possible to use it for identification in criminal trials. At first I pretty much accepted its validity but, over time, I started wondering just how accurate it was.
I still wonder about the actual physical accuracy of DNA evidence, but I'd never really considered the human aspect of the issue much until reading this story in the Orange County Weekly. According to the story, prosecutors were trying to get the DNA lab people to change their testimony in regards a suspect's DNA sample.
So, regardless of whatever lab results are, there's still the aspect of person- to- person relations and legal maneuverings that may, or may not, result in the conviction of an innocent person. Of course, the opposite is also true and more and more people are being exonerated for crimes they've been imprisoned for as time goes on.
I'll take the OC Weekly story with a grain of salt, if only because I could see how someone could say one thing and the person they were saying to could take it an entirely different way, but it does show that DNA evidence has a subjective as well as objective aspect to it.
Thanks to Radley Balko at his Agitator blog for the heads up on this case. If interested in his post on it, scroll a ways down from the beginning of the March 17 posts to Prosecutorial (and Judicial?) Misconduct In Orange County.