"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Premature Exoneration

Hmmm, not so hasty. A convicted rapist is freed because later DNA testing (unavailable at time of trial) shows genetic material on the adolescent victim was not his. Per standard practice, only the material present in the "rape kit" taken from the victim's body was tested.

But later testing from sources on the bedding are attributable to the now "exonerated" defendant. The DNA on the victim apparently was the result of an earlier consensual encounter.

The question now is whether the rapist can be tried again, since his conviction was (too hastily)vacated based on only an incomplete DNA workup from available crime scene sources.

Lesson: a negative DNA result does not always equate with actual innocence.

1 comment:

Kent said...

This is a tremendously good point--and I'd take it a little further. Not all of us have these types of cases, but we all stand in front of juries to argue other cases and more and more we find the expectation from jurors that we present DNA and other technical evidence. In truth, that evidence isn't available or helpful most of the time. There is no magic bullet--not DNA, not trace evidence, not anything. There is no substitute for good old-fashioned proof.