DNA has played an important role in criminal cases since its inception decades ago, but DNA evidence is in no way foolproof. Evidence is only as objective and ironclad as the methods used for obtaining that evidence. As with any human endeavor, there’s plenty of room for mistakes to be made. DNA evidence was once considered nearly infallible; those days are gone.
DNA: What Could Go Wrong?
DNA can provide compelling evidence for criminal cases, but DNA can also be irrevocably contaminated. DNA evidence is no longer the legal equivalent of a slam dunk, and there are several reasons why:
- Sloppy Lab Work – Many false convictions for crimes can be traced back to sloppy lab work. DNA can be transferred from sample to sample, and lab technicians can even inadvertently deposit their own DNA on evidence samples. Sloppy lab work – though not always easy to identify – can compromise the fair-trial factor of almost any criminal case.
- Compromised Crime-Scene Procedures – Sloppy work at the scene of the crime can be just as damaging to accurate evidence collection and, due to the fraught nature of crime-scene collections, might be even more susceptible to erroneous results.
- Improper Storage of Evidence – The regulations regarding evidence-storage are exact but aren’t always carefully followed. Though the proliferation of television cop shows would lead you to believe that every shred of evidence should be immediately shoved into a plastic evidence bag, most evidence does better in paper storage containers. If evidence isn’t stored properly, DNA evidence can be contaminated.
- Purposeful Sabotage – Though rare, DNA can be contaminated deliberately. Deliberate sabotage has been known to happen and cannot be discounted out of hand. Law officers, the prosecutorial team, and lab employees usually have ample access to the evidence and – in rare circumstances – this access must not be ignored.
These represent just a sampling of problems that can arise with DNA evidence. While the advent of DNA identification has increased the likelihood of accurately identifying the perpetrator of any given crime, DNA contamination happens and should not be discounted.
If You’re Facing Criminal Charges in New Jersey, You Need Experienced Legal Counsel – Call 732-238-8686 Today for More Information
If you are looking at a criminal charge that involves DNA evidence in New Jersey, David C. Barry, Attorney at Law can not only explain your legal rights but also expertly represent you throughout the legal process. For a free initial consultation regarding your criminal charge, call Attorney David C. Barry at 7732-238-8686 or contact him online today.