The Fallibility of DNA

by jeeg 2. August 2013 22:50

The myth of DNA infallibility has another dimension: when the government warehouses DNA samples on a large scale (as we do in California), we increase the chances that innocent citizens might be arrested, jailed and charged with capital murder, even when they are completely innocent.

If in the case discussed, Lukis Anderson’s DNA had not been in the database, he would not have been wrongly implicated in a murder, locked up for six months or threatened with the death penalty.

To add to the problem, the widespread belief that DNA evidence is infallible is often paired with the notion that it is always available to prove guilt or innocence. That is simply not true. The Innocence Project estimates that only 10 percent of crime scenes have DNA that can be tested to solve the crime.

After the Supreme Court decision allowing the police to seize DNA from people arrested for crimes without getting a search warrant, Americans should worry about sacrificing privacy in exchange for an imperfect tool that does not guarantee justice.

Michael Risher, ACLU NY Times


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