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How Dna Has Changed

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How DNA has changed the Criminal Justice System
Dorothy Harris
Professor Sean Kelley
Information Technology in Criminal Justice
November 9, 2011

How DNA has changed 1 The technology has changed many aspects of the criminal justice system, and the use of DNA evidence represents one of the best examples on how technology has change the criminal justice system. The use of DNA has changed by allowing other materials beside blood to be used as identification. The DNA technology is behind what it takes in solving criminal cases, and the meaning between guilty and not guilty or life or death. There are various ways that the criminal justice system uses DNA technology. DNA has been used to analyze and prove innocence or guilty of suspects of crimes with great accuracy. DNA is part of everyday life. IT is the heredity material in humans abs almost all other organisms. In 1994, the DNA Identification Act established a national DNA database, run by the FBI, called CODIS (Combined DNA Identification System), which links all states. While the creation of DNA databases often can be defended case by case, the development of this technology serves an end in itself apart from any particular application. It provides an inescapable means of identification, categorization, and profiling, and it does so with a type of information that is revelatory in a way few things are. While being part of an investigation, DNA has help solve crimes. The DNA evidence is gathered at the crime scene such as blood, sweat, semen, etc. There is a couple of ways that DNA left behind can be tested to help solve crimes. Either if the suspect has been caught and or had his or her DNA tested, or if he or she left behind any biological evidence. This then needs to be tested to see if it matches the DNA left behind at the crime scene to his or her DNA match. The result to this comparison may help establish if the suspect committed the crime. The DNA evidence is then compared to the law enforcement databases to identify the criminal or rule out any suspects. Today in law enforcement, DNA How DNA has changed 2 evidence is probably the most powerful investigative tool available. In addition to helping capture criminals, DNA testing has been instrumental in identifying human remains. DNA evidence has dramatically changed the landscape of crime fighting. The development and expansion of databases that contain DNA profiles at the local, state, and national level have greatly enhanced law enforcement’s ability to solve cases with DNA. Convicted offender databases store hundreds of thousands of potential suspect DNA profiles, against which DNA profiles development from crime scene evidence can be compared. The forensic DNA technology has had an incredible impact on a number of areas. It has change much about criminal justice systems around the world. It has changed our view of statutes of limitations, making formerly, arbitrarily determined time limits now based on what is scientifically possible. It has changed our view of old and unsolved crimes, giving life to cases previously though unsolvable. It has challenged our belief in the reliability of our judicial system through post conviction exonerations. It has even spawned an entire genre of television shows. DNA evidence can help to convict the guilty, acquit the innocent, or exonerate those wrongly accused or convicted. DNA can also be used to exonerate convicted criminals that may be on death row or servicing life in prison. For example, Jerry Miller was exonerated in 2007 in Illinois after serving 25 years in Illinois prison for a rape he did not commit, making him the 200th person cleared by DNA testing in the United States. He was misidentified by witnesses in a police line up, a factor shared by 75 % of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing. One of the advantages of DNA is that by using DNA fingerprinting it can be use in solving crimes, have a chance to solve old unsolved crimes, identification of victims in mass terrorist attacks, aircraft How DNA has change 3 accidents, and increased like hood of finding assailants in criminal offences, especially violet and sexual assaults. DNA is found in every cell in the body, any portion of the human body can be used to establish your identity. Since it is impossible to remove all body or physical traces a persons presence DNA fingerprint is a very useful in murder or homicide cases in which the body has been disfigured, or fingers have been burned or the teeth and other features are destroyed . One cell is good enough for a positive identification. One of the disadvantages is that many prisoners do not have legal means to secure testing or evidence in their cases. There are states that have passed statues that will keep innocent people from securing DNA test to prove their innocent. The rise of DNA analysis has enabled a level of accuracy in criminal identification not possible before the development of certain technologies, and show how technology is shaping, and will continue to shape, how the criminal justice system operates. In case after case, DNA has proven what scientists already know that eyewitness identification is frequently inaccurate. DNA identification can be quite effective if used intelligently. Although no evidence is 100 percent accurate, many forensic scientists say that DNA is superior to all other types of evidence, especially eyewitness testimony.

How DNA has changed 4
Foster, R. E. (2005). Police Technology. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. www. Advantages of Fingerprinting
Lazer, D, ed. DNA and the Criminal Justice System: The Technology of Justice. Cambridge, MA: MIT press, 2004
Parks, P.J. (2009). DNA Evidence and Investigation Reference. Reference Point Press, San Diego, CA

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