A Conversation for Unfinished Business of the Century
ChrisTre 69543 Started conversation Oct 7, 1999
OK...so there's supposed to be a way of really telling if a person was guilty of a crime or not through DNA evidence. If it's so correct, why isn't it a pre-requistite to all trials? The money we would save in lengthy court battles could be put to better use. Feeding the huyngry comes to mind. So does housing the homeless. OH..how about sending me on a great vacation?
Larena Posted Oct 7, 1999
Good point. If I was accused of a crime, I'd be offering them my DNA as a way of proving I didn't do it.
Better than wasting a jury's time trying to convince them I wasn't lying.
RavensCross Posted Oct 8, 1999
You are accused of a murder of someone you know. You are saddened by thier death and wish to help, in doing so you give someof your DNA. Traces of it are found on the dead persons body (after all, you knew them and met them before the crime). This will prove that you met with the person and therefore, by using DNA, the police have evidence. How would giving DNA prove you didn't do it?
Mustapha Posted Oct 9, 1999
A recent case in New Zealand utilised DNA testing and illustrates its inadequacies very well. Two teenagers disappeared over the 1997/1998 New Year's holiday. They were alleged to have been murdered on board someone's yacht at sea. The bodies have never been found, nor has any murder weapon. The only physical evidence to actually link the two parties were a couple of strands of hair from one of the teenagers found on the accused's yacht. All DNA testing could prove was that the hairs were so many millions of times more likely to have come from that teenager. If the hairs were from that person, it does not explain how the hairs came to be there in the first place, and it certainly does not mean a murder took place. Plus in court, there were questions raised over the testing procedure (there will always BE questions over testing because of the intricate and precise nature of the tests).
The accused man was convicted but not solely because of this evidence. The prosecution had to show a damning portrait of the man, a pattern of behaviour and both opportunity and proximity (all of which is circumstantial).
As I understand it, in some cases such as rape, DNA can prove conclusively that a person did not commit a crime, but not necessarily prove that a certain person DID commit a crime. Another NZ case had a man convicted of raping a girl next door. DNA proved that he didn't, and he was subsequently released. But the government refuses to consider compensation, citing that while the evidence proves he wasn't GUILTY, it didn't prove he was INNOCENT, in other words, he could one of a number of people present and could have worn a condom.
ChrisTre 69543 Posted Oct 11, 1999
And there's the point! If it's such a good thing, why all the descrepancies? And if it can really exhonorate those truley innocent of the sexual offences they were supposed to have committed, why can they not get the courts to act on appeal? I guess if you have money and can afford Barry Scheck, and you are innocent, then you stand a chance of being exhonorated. Otherwise, you're just "unfinished business."
It has been reported that 30% to 50% of the inmates in prison in the USA , should not be there. hmmmmm. (Then again, it was there fault for hireing a bad lawyer.)
Mustapha Posted Oct 11, 1999
On the other hand, having so many innocent people in prison, could have a beneficial influence. I mean, would you rather have 50-50 mix of crims and law-abiding citizens, or 100% hardened thugs?
On a more serious note, justice costs money. Appeals in any country have to have compelling evidence to justify the bother and expense of a new trial, and if that evidence is genetic, someone has to pay for that as well. I think I heard it was around $30,000 in the US, not an easy sum if you're under lockdown, even with the ACLU on your side working for free.
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