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DNA & The Judicial System - Essay Example

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The past one decade has seen great improvements in one of the most powerful criminal justice tools ever devised: Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). The criminal justice tool provides a means by which criminals can be identified with sound accuracy…
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DNA & The Judicial System
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DNA & The Judicial System

Download file to see previous pages... Evolution of DNA technology to solve criminal cases is not a new phenomenon. Media has extensively popularized the concept of DNA technology and its role in the fight against crime and injustice. This extensive coverage is not just for the mere reason that the technology is relatively new in the judicial system, but because of its peculiar accuracy in convicting or exonerating suspects. Legislation has been a major issue in the application of DNA technology. These stem from incessant use of the technology in data banking to using DNA tests in post-conviction tests. Originally, the test was developed solely for determining paternity of children. Samples taken under clinical conditions were studied for genetic evidence linking parents to children. The maiden time DNA technology made its way into the judicial system was in 1986. Police in England asked a molecular biologist and researcher, Alec Jeffreys to use DNA tests to verify the validity of 17 year old boy in two cases of sexual assault in the English Midlands. The twist in the test results that proved the boy to be innocent of the offenses, and a later conviction of the real perpetrator using the same DNA test made DNA testing a technology to revere in the judicial system.
In 1987, the first DNA-based conviction took place in the United States. Tommy Lee was convicted in Circuit Courts, Florida within the Orange County for rape. The DNA test on samples of semen collected from a victim matched his DNA construct. This did not, however, change the public and judicial mindset did not take immediate effect until a high court ruled in favor of DNA test. In 1989, the state high court of West Virginia ruled in favor of DNA sample tests on a rape case....
The DNA test on samples of semen collected from a victim matched his DNA construct. This did not, however, change the public and judicial mindset did not take immediate effect until a high court ruled in favor of DNA test. In 1989, the state high court of West Virginia ruled in favor of DNA sample tests on a rape case (Lazer, 2010). The first years of the ground-breaking use of DNA in administering justice did not attract dispute and public uproar. This, however, changed as the technique became more widely used by prosecutors. Defense attorneys began challenging and disputing the admissibility of DNA tests as grounds of administering justice. Admissibility of a new technology in judicial system is determined using two universally agreed standards. These are the Daubert Standard and the Frye Standard. The first standard of admissibility, Daubert Standard originates from 1993 case of Daubert v Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals. The court ruled during this famous legal tussle that evidence and proof must possess enough scientific reliability and validity to be admitted as relevant scientific knowledge which would be used to assist the trier of facts (Yang, 2011). The earlier standard named Frye Standard is based in a 1923 case of Frye v United States. During this important ruling, the court pronounced that in order for a novel scientific technology to be admissible, scientific evidence must be thoroughly established to have acquired general acceptance in the field that it belongs. Considering the two standards of admissibility of technology, it would be level-minded to conclude that DNA technology meets the criteria of determining admissibility. The technology belongs to the field of medicine and clinical practices (Ze-Lian & Drew, 2008). Prior to its usage in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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