DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, Grants and Issues

Author: Nathan James

Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub

ISBN: 9781482764550

Category: Law

Page: 52

View: 3893

Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is the fundamental building block for an individual's entire genetic makeup. DNA is a powerful tool for law enforcement investigations because each person's DNA is different from that of every other individual (except for identical twins). DNA can be extracted from a number of sources, such as hair, bone, teeth, saliva, and blood. As early as the 1980s, states began enacting laws that required collecting DNA samples from offenders convicted of certain sexual and other violent crimes. The samples were then analyzed and their profiles entered into state databases. Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory convened a working group of federal, state, and local forensic scientists to establish guidelines for the use of forensic DNA analysis in laboratories. The group proposed guidelines that are the basis of current national quality assurance standards, and it urged the creation of a national DNA database. The criminal justice community began to utilize DNA analyses more often in criminal investigations and trials, and in 1994 Congress enacted legislation to authorize the creation of a national DNA database. Federal law (42 U.S.C §14132(a)) authorizes the FBI to operate and maintain a national DNA database where DNA profiles generated from samples collected from people under applicable legal authority and samples collected at crime scenes can be compared to generate leads in criminal investigations. Statutory provisions also authorize the collection of DNA samples from federal offenders and arrestees, District of Columbia offenders, and military offenders. State laws dictate which convicted offenders, and sometimes people arrested for crimes, will have profiles entered into state DNA databases, while federal law dictates the scope of the national database. Increasing awareness of the power of DNA to solve crimes has resulted in increased demand for DNA analysis, which has resulted in a backlog of casework. Some jurisdictions have started to use their DNA databases for familial searching, which involves using offender profiles to identify relatives who might be perpetrators of crimes. In addition to solving crimes, DNA analysis can help exonerate people incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Congress has authorized several grant programs to provide assistance to state and local governments for forensic sciences. Many of the programs focus on providing state and local governments with funding to reduce the backlog of forensic and convicted offender DNA samples waiting to be processed and entered into the national database. Since FY2006, Congress has appropriated approximately $785 million for backlog reduction and laboratory capacity enhancement programs. However, other grant programs provide funding for related purposes, such as offsetting the cost of providing post-conviction DNA testing. In the 1990s and the early part of the last decade, most of the debate in Congress focused on the scope of DNA databases, reducing the backlog of DNA casework, and providing access to post conviction DNA testing. Most of the debate about the scope of DNA databases faded away with the enactment of the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-162), which expanded federal collection statutes to include anyone arrested or detained under the authority of the United States. The act also expanded the scope of the national database to include DNA profiles of individuals arrested for state crimes. However, concerns about the backlog of DNA casework and access to post-conviction testing have persisted. In addition, new issues related to the use of DNA in criminal justice have emerged, including whether (1) DNA databases should be used to conduct familial searches, (2) sexual assault evidence collection kits (i.e., “rape kits”) should be standardized, and (3) there should be national accreditation standards for forensic laboratories.
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Inside the Cell

The Dark Side of Forensic DNA

Author: Erin E. Murphy

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 1568584709

Category: Social Science

Page: 400

View: 7576

Josiah Sutton was convicted of rape. He was five inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter than the suspect described by the victim, but at trial a lab analyst testified that his DNA was found at the crime scene. His case looked like many others—arrest, swab, match, conviction. But there was just one problem—Sutton was innocent. We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of “stop and spit.” DNA testing is rightly seen as a transformative technological breakthrough, but we should be wary of placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of the same broken criminal justice system that has produced mass incarceration, privileged government interests over personal privacy, and all too often enforced the law in a biased or unjust manner. Inside the Cell exposes the truth about forensic DNA, and shows us what it will take to harness the power of genetic identification in service of accuracy and fairness.
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Crime and Criminal Justice

Concepts and Controversies

Author: Stacy L. Mallicoat

Publisher: SAGE Publications

ISBN: 1506351859

Category: Social Science

Page: 456

View: 1178

Crime and Criminal Justice: Concepts and Controversies (by Stacy L. Mallicoat) introduces students to the key concepts of the criminal justice system and invites them to explore emerging issues. Students will gain a balanced perspective of the criminal justice system through Current Controversy debates at the end of each chapter that motivate students to apply what they learned by critically analyzing and discussing the pros and cons of the issues presented. Examining important, but often overlooked, components, such as the role of victims and policy, Crime and Criminal Justice helps students develop a foundational understanding of the structures, agencies, and functions of the criminal justice system, as well as build the confidence and skills they need to effectively analyze current issues in criminal justice.
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Der Gefangene

Author: John Grisham

Publisher: Heyne Verlag

ISBN: 3641110297

Category: Fiction

Page: 464

View: 2650

Die Hölle auf Erden – Die Packende Geschichte eines Justizskandals In der Tradition von Truman Capotes »Kaltblütig« widmet sich John Grisham einem Kriminalfall, der erschütterndes Zeugnis ablegt über die Ungerechtigkeit eines modernen Rechtssystems. Brillant erzählt und getragen von großer Sympathie für seinen Helden, wird Ron Williamsons Schicksal zu einem packenden Thriller, der nicht mehr aus der Hand zu legen ist. Debbie Carter arbeitet als Bardame im »Coachlight Club« in Ada, Oklahoma. Sie ist beliebt bei den Gästen. Auch Ron Williamson, ehemaliger Baseballprofi und Stammgast im Club, sitzt oft bei ihr an der Bar. Eines Morgens wird die junge Frau vergewaltigt und erwürgt in ihrer Wohnung aufgefunden. Sechs Jahre später werden Ron Williamson und sein Freund Dennis Fritz aufgrund einer Falschaussage der Tat bezichtigt. Williamson wird zum Tode, Fritz zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt. Beide beteuern ihre Unschuld. Elf Jahre verbringt Williamson unter grausamen und entwürdigenden Haftbedingungen in der Todeszelle. Kurz vor der Hinrichtung zeigt eine DNA-Untersuchung, dass weder Fritz noch Williamson die Tat begangen haben können. Sie werden freigesprochen. Der wahre Täter, damaliger Hauptbelastungszeuge der Anklage, wird wenig später verhaftet. Fünf Jahre nach seiner Freilassung stirbt Ron Williamson an den Folgen der Haft.
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Das Gift der Gewissheit

Author: Scott Turow

Publisher: Karl Blessing Verlag

ISBN: 364114860X

Category: Fiction

Page: N.A

View: 3766

Für gewöhnlich tragen Arthur Ravens Mandanten feinen Zwirn und sitzen hinter Mahagonischreibtischen. Romeo Gandolph jedoch trägt Handschellen und sitzt hinter Gittern im Trakt für zum Tode verurteilte Straftäter in Rudyard. Man hat ihn für schuldig befunden, am 4. Juli 1991 zwei Männer und eine Frau in einem Imbissrestaurant beraubt und erschossen zu haben. Obwohl er die Tat bereits mehrfach gestanden hat, schwört er nun, dass er nicht der Mörder ist. Das Bundesberufungsgericht von Kindle County ernennt Raven zum Pflichtverteidiger in diesem scheinbar aussichtslosen Verfahren, das doch nur dazu dienen soll, längst gesichert geglaubte Fakten ein weiteres Mal abzuhaken. Der Anwalt macht sich missmutig an die Arbeit, entdeckt aber schon bald Hinweise darauf, dass sein Mandant möglicherweise unschuldig ist. Er ist dankbar für die Unterstützung, die Gillian Sullivan anbietet, doch er kann nicht ahnen, dass ihm die ehemalige Richterin, die Gandolph in erster Instanz zum Tode verurteil hatte, ihre dunkle Vergangenheit verschweigt. Der spektakuläre Auftritt eines Zeugen lässt die Ereignisse schließlich in einem ganz anderen Licht erscheinen und führt Anklage und Verteidigung vor Augen, wie sich die Wahrheit zu immer neuen Trugbildern verzerrt. Turows mitreißende Inszenierung dieses Prozesses vermittelt jenseits von Hollywood-Heroismus und Schwarz-Weiß-Malerei, wie morsch das Justizsystem ist, das über Leben und Tod von Menschen entscheidet, und wie schwierig es für alle Beteiligten ist, sich mit ihren Emotionen auseinander zu setzen. Selbstzweifel, Reue und Verbitterung sind seinen Figuren ebenso eigen wie guter Glaube, Ehrgeiz und Hoffnung. Ein spannendes Courtroom-Drama, das schließlich nur die eine Gewissheit postuliert: Der Weg zur Hölle ist gepflastert mit guten Absichten.
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"Die Protokolle der Weisen von Zion"

Anatomie einer Fälschung

Author: Hadassa Ben-Itto

Publisher: Aufbau Digital

ISBN: 3841206298

Category: History

Page: 432

View: 5355

Die unglaubliche Geschichte einer Fälschung Die "jüdische Weltverschwörung" dient bis heute als Erklärung für jede nur erdenkliche Katastrophe: Kriege, Revolutionen, Wirtschaftskrisen, Börsenkräche, Terrorismus, Aids. Und immer wieder laufen die Fäden bei einem vermeintlich authentischen Buch zusammen: den "Protokollen der Weisen von Zion", deren Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte hier packend erzählt wird. 1934 kommt es in Bern zum Prozeß gegen die "Protokolle", den Ben-Itto anhand von Gerichtsakten und noch lebenden Zeugen rekonstruiert.
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