Summaries of the reading materials [descriptive & wrt aim]
1.2.c Kaye & Sensabaugh (DNA Identification evidence) [Manuals]
Nowadays DNA identification is an important tool of evidence in court. According to D.H. Kaye and G. Sensabaugh the courts should examine in passing on the admissibility of novel DNA evidence. They argue that some understanding of and appreciation for the nature, structure and process of scientific reasoning in general and of the special characteristics of forensic science in particular are necessary to evaluate the scientific quality of the evidence.1
If you are convicted, it often happens that you have to give DNA. Your DNA-profile will be included in a database. Normally this is an order from the prosecutor. There is a possibility to appeal the court for including your DNA-profile in the database. But this is only possible after you have given your DNA. So, this is the fact: ‘You must give DNA before you may object’.2 It has to be objected that DNA identification is an important tool of evidence in court, but it must not violate ethical principles. This principle is a violation of privacy of every person, convicted or not, is an argument which is used a lot. Ofcourse convicted persons are supposed to participate in the process. But if DNA release does not contribute to the current process, it can be seen as a violation of privacy. Besides this, an additional argument is the uncertaintly and the risk of erroneous identification of persons for being guilty if the DNA database is increases. The fact that the full DNA prfile is extremely rare, after all, it does not mean that is unique. There could be alternative explanations for DNA matching, such as (guilty) blood relatives of the suspect, errors in the research or just another person with an almost similar DNA-profile. On the other hand, DNA-profiles are quite often used to prove someone is not guilty. But the said arguments may also apply the other way. Which means that someone who actually is guilty, is acquitted by usage of DNA identification as possible evidence.
Concluded, there are a lot of considerations for the usage of DNA identification as evidence in the criminal process. Therefore, it is recommended that DNA identivication are cautious used as evidence in criminal cases.
- Kaya DH, Sensabaugh G. Non-Human DNA Evidence, 38 Jurimetrics J. 1-16 (1998).
- Walter Römelingh van Haagrechten Advocaten. DNA Bezwaarschrift. Available at: http://www.advocaat-strafrecht-advocaat.nl/========DNA=BEZWAARSCHRIFT========.html