Crime scenes bid the DNA traces, the recovery of these traces have of decisive significance for reenacting and solving crimes, and this affords the criminal justice system with an impartial indication (Mapes, Kloosterman, & Poot, 2015). There are various techniques used for this purpose, and all these techniques are well established and scientifically validated (Lubaale, 2015).Thus, DNA databases are often mentioned to as competent crime-fighting contrivance as these can also support in the proclamation of unfairly imprisoned persons(Mapes et al., 2015). There are certain characteristics of the DNA that make it possible to be used in the forensic genetics. Individuals have the DNA that is the collection of their chromosomes that show both visible and invisible characteristics. Forensic genetics use these characteristics on the rule that DNA is same in all of the cells in the bulk of an individual. It is noteworthy that not all the DNA is helpful in the assessment for the crimes, as it has a nonfunctioning part that is different in all the individuals, forensics genetics use this part for the assessment.
Despite the competence of the source, there are many cases also in which this evidence has arisen in the form of disputes with references to the decisions of the courts, leading to many questions about its impending effect on the sanction of certain crimes (Lawless, 2013). Although the DNA is a golden guide in many crimes regarding public opinion and from the perspective of the judges, there are many cases in which it loses its validity, credibility and effectiveness in judgment, and whether deliberate or unintentional human error has responsibility and they have a right to do so.
Piloting and conducting of DNA samples
The use of DNA as evidence in the crime was started in 1986 when an English inventor if this technology used it in the rape murder case (Bishops, 1995). The use of this evidence in the courts was permitted in 1988(Bishops, 1995).The use of these techniques is rapidly increasing, and it is evident from the fact that around 130000 to 150000 DNA identification are being done every year in America (Bishops, 1995).In some circumstances, there is the usage of short tandem repeat (STR) profile of the particular person that ties that of a sample occupied at the crime scene does not openly answer queries of the fault or blamelessness of that individual(Lubaale, 2015). The efficacious practice of the DNA in the crimes repose on the assured aspects, comprised of these aspects is sample size, and the purity of the sample is taken for the investigation (Lubaale, 2015). The validity of the DNA sample varies over time and depends upon the sample collected. If the DNA is collected in time and is properly save, its life increases and it can be used for the longer period (Lubaale, 2015).
The source of the DNA collection from the body of the person are the blood of the person, the sperm, and the semen cells, tissues as well as the organs, the bones of the person and his teeth and any other body secretion or the epithelial cells present on the body of the person or his clothes(Lubaale, 2015). The one widely used technique by the scientists for the DNA profiling aimed for the use in the investigation is the STR, and it uses the polymerase chain reaction for its functioning (Lubaale, 2015). The PCR with the ability of production of millions of the copies is then used in the DNA analysis of the criminals (Lubaale, 2015). The copies that the PCR products then are subjected to the electrophoresis, with the output of electropherogram that is a computer spawned graph (Lubaale, 2015).
DNA traces from the crime scene got a transfer to the police forensic department and referred to the forensic laboratory after consent taken from the public prosecutor (Mapes, Kloosterman, & Poot, 2015). When they reached the lab, they get profiled under the strict protocol (Mapes et al., 2015). There are two types of criminal cases, and the processing of the DNA varies and depends on the types that which case is under exploration (Mapes et al., 2015). These are the SC-cases and HCV-cases (Mapes et al., 2015). Their handling not only require the different specialized SC officers but these are also processed differently concerning reaching to the labs (Mapes et al., 2015).
Technique of analyzing, and interpretation of DNA
UK Forensic Science Service (FSS) used the first technique LT-DNA technique for the processing the DNA samples used for the crimes investigation (Lawless, 2013). There were many incremental adoptions with this technique by the scientists for its effective usage. It was using the probabilistic Bayesian system as it’s running mechanism, and this method was successfully used before the collapsing of a high-profile case in 2007, due to which there arose the doubts on its reliability.
“My study reveals how the technological boundaries that surround LT-DNA showed a high level of multivalency. In the debate discussed here, a series of distinctions were drawn: basic distinctions between ‘valid’ science versus potential ‘pathological science’, and ‘new’ versus ‘the same’ technology, as well as some more subtle distinctions (LT-DNA as a ‘tool’ vs LT-DNA as a set of ‘conditions’)”. (Lawless, 2013).
In the above the researcher is highlighting the role of technology in DNA enhancement. However, like technology innovations and changes in technology subject to the changes in sciences as well. The study instated the argument of accuracy in the field of DNA by exploring the “Pathological science”.
There is the controversy associated with the use of the DNA technique about its interpretation also. There are many critical problems that arise during the interpretation of the results that make the use of these techniques unreliable in many circumstances. One such example of the controversial interpretation of the results of the DNA analysis is the Bokolo case. The petitioner, in this case, was accused of the rape, murder and the battering of the child (Lubaale, 2015). The evidence in the court only found him guilty of the charge of the rape, and he appealed to the Supreme Court against this decision. All the decisions of the court were resting upon the evidence from the DNA, and the petitioner denied his presence at the site of the crime (Lubaale, 2015).
The STR profile of the accuser was not in dispute when investigated for the results. There were two interpreters that were interpreting these results, and one was from the defense, and the other was from the prosecutor. Both these interpreted the results different pointing out the weakness and the shortcoming of the techniques that arose in that particular case (Lawless, 2013). The opinion of the prosecutor was more convincing in this case, and the court had to when it was analyzed from the other point of view it seemed that the opinion of the defense was more convincing. The results do not interpret themselves, but the experts interpret them and take the subjectivity into the opinion and make the results biased, this is the one of the solid objection raised by the scientists and the forensic experts while dealings with the DNA profiling as a test of evidence in the crimes cases. Thus, the Bokolo case took into account the alternative interpretation and showed the weakness of this technique effectively.
There is some useful guidance given by the Thompson et all that propose the suitable assistance to the defense experts so that they can use the DNA evidence effectively in the courts and interpret them efficiently (Lubaale, 2015). There is the need of the access given to the defense expert to the report of the DNA analysis (Lubaale, 2015). The report should have the detailed description of the tested samples, the type of the DNA testing being performed on that DNA sample as well as the indication of the common source that the sample had for the testing (Lubaale, 2015). This guidance is suggested to the defense expert so that he may thoroughly analyze the report and interpret it effectively in the court as evidence in the criminal cases.
The O.J. Simpson case
Los Angeles police detective must know if he soon found a knife, which appears to be on property O.J. Simpson in the late 1990s contains the DNA of the football star or two people accused of murder. While the LAPD spends a lot of forensic evidence on the knife, police sources said DNA testing is likely to be a key issue for researchers (Winton, 2016).
Sources said a preliminary examination suggests the weapon was not connected to the brutal 1994 murder of Simpson’s ex-wife Nikol Braun Simpson and his friend Ronald Goldman. It is unclear, any DNA in the knife is there, how long has it been since it was discovered on the Simpson label.
Simpson was tried for murder, but the jury found him innocent.
Presumably, he found the knife when he set up Manor Simpson crews in Brentwood after the property was detected. But the owner of the company that did the demolition said that no one has found a knife.
“I think it’s a joke. I think it’s just filler … no one on my crew found anything,” said Mike Weber, 70. “I had instructed my people, ‘If you find anything, don’t keep it. Tell me, we’ll take the appropriate action.’”
A police officer on the Los Angeles board gave a knife, found a manufacturer called LAPD, to talk about him many years ago, his lawyer said Friday (Winton, 2016).
Preservation of DNA evidence
There is the need for the preservation of the DNA evidence properly so that it can be used in the courts for the in interpretation is the source of the evidence in those crimes. There are various techniques that give the results of the preserved DNA. As Lubaale, (2014) claims that, “Although cross-examination is supposedly the ‘greatest engine ever invented for the discovery of truth’, arguably, the complexity of the technique of DNA pro ling limits the effectiveness of cross- examination”.
It is evident to realize the techniques for preservation of the DNA. According to the above study time is the factor which causes the elements to make results inaccurate. Hence, preservation of DNA could be proved ineffective at times as well.
There is the wide history of the DNA evidence that is being known as the DNA wars in the history, during the period of the 1980s and the early 1990s (Lawless, 2013). There are many legal and scientific challenges to these forensic techniques that have put the use of this technique in the question; this controversy gained importance with the participation of genetic scientist by providing evidence against this technique (Lawless, 2013).Incorrect usage of the DNA evidence can lead to the miscarriage of justice where the innocent are convicted, and the guilty are acquainted.
All these concerns can be addressed and make this technique the effective one if it gets possible to have the DNA analysis in the real time at the crime scenes (Mapes et al., 2015). Efforts are being started for the further improvement of the DNA analysis and the interpreting techniques to remove all the objections and the weaknesses for this technique (Mapes et al., 2015). Efforts are continuing and there have been recent advancements in the forensic DNA technology in the form of phenotypic profiling and familial searching (Lawless, 2013).
We don’t deny the valuable price of DNA in proving innocence or guilt and in achieving justice in many crime cases. However, this evidence should be evaluated and evaluate methods of collecting, analyzing, and preserving them in ways that eliminate the possibility of invalidation and work hard to develop the technology used in testing them. Furthermore, Keep personal and confidential rights in mind.
Bishops, J. E. (1995). reoprt information from proquest. The Globe and Mail , Toronto, Ont.
Lawless, C. J. (2013). The low template DNA profiling controversy: Biolegality and boundary work among forensic scientists. Social Studies of Science, 43(2), 191–214.
Lubaale, E. C. (2015). Bokolo v S 2014 (1) sacr 66 (sca): The practicality of challenging dna evidence in court. SA Crime Quarterly, (52), 39–47.
Mapes, A. A., Kloosterman, A. D., & Poot, C. J. (2015). DNA in the criminal justice system: the DNA success story in perspective. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 60(4), 851–856.
Winton Richard, (2016, March). Knife in O.J. Simpson case: DNA test should show if it’s evidence or another false start. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-oj-simpson-case-knife-dna-test-20160307-story.html