Scientific Breakthrough Paper
Forensic DNA typing has had a broad, positive impact on the criminal justice system. In recent years, convictions have been obtained that previously would have been impossible. Countless suspects have been eliminated prior to the filing of charges. Old, unsolved criminal cases, as well as new cases, have been solved. In a very few case, mistakenly accused defendants have been freed both before trial and after incarceration. Increasingly, the unidentified remains of crime victims are being identified. Advances in DNA technology hold enormous potential to enhance our quality of justice even more dramatically. However, significant increases in resources are needed to enlarge forensic laboratory capacity and expand DNA databases. No other investment in our criminal justice system will do more to protect the innocent, convict the guilty and reduce human suffering (Peterson, December 19, 2002). In keeping with these beliefs, the National District Attorneys Association has supported funding for forensic laboratories to eliminate backlogs in the testing of biological samples from convicted offenders and crime scenes. Funding by the federal government is a critical component in realizing the full potential of DNA testing. (Thimsel, 1998). The National District Attorneys Association has always supported the use of DNA testing where such testing will prove the actual innocence of a previously convicted individual and not serve as a diversionary attack on the conviction. First, it would be good to clear up several popular misconceptions. The vast majority of criminal cases do not involve DNA evidence. Just as fingerprint evidence, although available for decades, is seldom a conclusive factor in a prosecution, DNA evidence will likewise, even though it is increasingly available and more determinative, will not be a factor in a large majority of cases. Secondly, the absence of a biological sample, in and of itself, is not necessarily...
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