|MadSci Network: Genetics|
Dear Cassey, There's actually a book entitled "Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial" published by the US Department of Justice. So it would appear that one-half of your question has been answered. Cassey, I believe your question is a little more complex that requires more than a simple yes or no. There's no question that DNA technology has revolutionized forensic science. The technology is extremely sensitive and exact; in theory it should be foolproof. But what does it tell us? It tells us that a person left his or her DNA at a crime scene, on a victim, or took away some of the victim's DNA on his or her person. It's a piece of the puzzle that police, prosecutors and juries must consider in solving crimes. Perhaps there exist other explanations as to why someones DNA is at a crime scene. Perhaps the victim and suspect knew each other and had contact with one another before the crime was committed. Forensic science is a science and there are no absolutes. That's why it is so important that juries here all the testimony and see all the evidence to render a verdict. DNA can be an extremely valuable piece of evidence, but I hope that the day never comes when the genetic analyzer instrument spits out a report that states "guilty" or "innocent".
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