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DNA Testing of Criminals

A Guide to Selected Government and Legal Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Federal Government Information
Rapid DNA - FBI

"The Bureau plans to initiate pilot testing in 2019 with select federal, state, and local law enforcement for the uploading and CODIS searching of arrestee Rapid DNA records during the booking process."

Postconviction DNA Testing: Recommendations For Handling Requests

This report from the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence recommends guidelines for analyzing cases involving DNA evidence. The information is tailored to fit the needs of prosecutors, defense council, the judiciary, victim assistance, and laboratory personnel and discusses both legal and biological issues. 1999
J 28.2:D 44

The Unrealized Potential of DNA Testing

An enumeration of the ways that DNA testing is superior to other traditional testing. Some of the obstacles to realizing DNA's full potential are offered and the future directions of DNA evidence processing are examined. 1998
J 28.15/2-2:D 44

Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial

This book identifies and reviews cases in which convicted persons were released from prison because of post-trial DNA tests. 1996
J 28.24/3:C 76/2

"The Military's DNA Registry: An Analysis of Current Law and a Proposal for Safeguards"

A look at the issues surrounding the Department of Defense DNA Registry and some ideas for safekeeping the genetic information housed there. This article contains an analysis of state and federal laws relating to DNA storage and its usage for law enforcement purposes. 1997
Naval Law Review. 1997 Vol. 44 pp. 175-222 D 205.7:44 microfiche

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence

Addresses technical issues that arise in considering the admissability of DNA samples. Also explains DNA testing, shows the validity and reliability of DNA analysis, and makes recommendations concerning its use as evidence in court. 1994
JU 13.8:SCI 2

Illinois Government Information
Trends and Issues 1997

A portion of this report by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority provides an accounting of the uses of DNA profiling by the Illinois State Police.
ILLINOIS 364.9773 TREN 1997 pp. 191-194

Legal Information
"DNA Database Searches and the Legal Consumption of Scientific Evidence"

An examination of DNA's role in convicting suspected criminals and of the problems that are inherent in DNA database searches. These authors contend that the National Research Council is mistaken in its assertion that obtaining a DNA match via a DNA database search diminishes its value as evidence.
Michigan Law Review. February 1999 Vol. 97, No. 4 pp. 931-984

"Commonwealth v. Joseph O'Dell: Truth and Justice or Confuse the Courts? The DNA Controversy"

The author of this Opinion, Lori Urs, married Joseph O'Dell prior to his execution in Virginia, and she uses his case to exemplify the problems and the advantages of DNA. She focuses on "band shifting" as a means of correction in the DNA process, the ignored DNA in the O'Dell case, and the possibility that DNA results can be misunderstood and abused.
New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement. Winter 1999 Vol. 25, No. 1 pp. 311-331

"Genetic Justice: A Lawyer's Guide to the Science of DNA Testing"

This article compares five currently used methods of DNA testing and explains the strengths and the weaknesses of each. Identity testing is illustrated using "evidentiary samples" from Shaquille O'Neill, Michael Jordan, Kato Kaelin, and Richard Daley.
Illinois Bar Journal. January 1999 Vol. 87, No. 1 pp. 18-26

"The DNA Database: Civil Liberty and Evidentiary Issues"

A look at the questions surrounding the use of a DNA database, including the legality of taking samples from suspects, the likelihood of error or breach of privacy in the storage of genetic information, the strength of DNA matches obtained from a DNA database, and the presentation of DNA evidence in court.
The Criminal Law Review. July 1998 pp. 437-454

"Juries and Crime Labs: Correcting the Weak Links in the DNA Chain"

An advocation of a comprehensive national standard for crime laboratories and the processing of DNA as well as a proposal that DNA evidence be removed from the fact-finding process for juries so that judges determine the admissability of and the accompanying instructions for DNA evidence.
Journal of Law and Medicine. 1998 Vol. 24, No. 2 & 3 pp. 345-363

"A Comeback for Hair Evidence"

Mitochondrial DNA testing is the analysis of choice for today's forensic hair evidence.This article explains some of the uses for this type of DNA testing, as well as its drawbacks.
ABA Journal. May 1998 pp. 66-69

"Defense Access to State-Funded DNA Experts: Considerations of Due Process"

Does every defendant whose case involves DNA have the right to a DNA expert, even if he or she cannot afford to hire one? The author of this Comment studies this question and answers in the affirmative.
California Law Review. December 1997 Vol. 85, No. 6 pp. 1803-1839 available via Nexis Uni

"A Second Chance for Justice: Illinois' Post-Trial Forensic Testing Law"

An article discussing Illinois' new law which makes DNA testing available to inmates who were convicted before such testing was available.
Judicature. November/December 1997 Vol. 81, No. 3 pp. 114-117

Motion for Fingerprint or Forensic Testing Not Available at Trial Regarding Actual Innocence

Effective January 1, 1998, an Illinois defendant who meets particular prerequisites may request DNA testing of evidence used to convict him or her if the technology to do so was unavailable at the time of the trial.
725 ILCS 5/116-3

DNA Identification Act of 1994

This Act modifies the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 by inserting provisions regulating funding of DNA analysis laboratories and authorizing the collection of an index of DNA records and samples, all of which are designed to enhance quality assurance.
P.L. 103-322, 108 STAT. 2071 sections 210301 to 210306

"Genes and Justice"

This entire issue explores the increasing relationship between science and law, especially DNA's impact on society and the courts. Basic information about the Human Genome Project is given. Articles explore whether or not behavior (i.e., criminal behavior) has a biological basis and what impact affirmative findings would have on courts ill-equipped to evaluate scientific claims. DNA's role in the criminal justice system is highlighted, including crime scene investigation, postconviction testing, the Combined Data Index System backlog, and complex scientific evidence and juries.
Judicature. Vol. 83, No. 3 November-December 1999

"Tough Luck for the Innocent Man"

A look at the wrongful conviction and 16-year incarceration of Kevin Green, at state compensation for wrongful imprisonment, at the role DNA plays in conviction and exoneration, and at the justice system's failure to address the mistakes made in sentencing.
ABA Journal. March 1999. pp. 46-52

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