Home > Legal Aspects > Post-Conviction DNA Analysis

Post-Conviction DNA Analysis

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 27 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Post-conviction Dna Analysis Appeal

Perhaps one of the most emotional and significant legal aspects of DNA applications has been the newfound freedom for those who were released from prison following DNA analysis. For some individuals, however, the post-conviction release has been a bittersweet one given that decades have already been spent behind bars. Still, these cases highlight the value and importance of DNA analysis that occurs after a person has already been convicted of a crime. While many cases still remain 'locked,' post-conviction analysis will hopefully continue through many calls from freedom projects and the relentless urging of family members who are convinced that a person has been wrongly committed of a crime.

Exoneration

Most of the post-conviction DNA analysis has occurred in the United States. Since the late 1980s, there have been more than two hundred people exonerated as a result of DNA evidence. One project titled the Innocence Project focuses on providing aid to prisoners who maintain their innocence and want access to DNA testing or similar types of evidence that they believe support their claims of innocence.

All of the resources, time and money spent have been criticised by some although others cite that if even one innocent person is freed due to DNA evidence, then the effort is well worth it. For those lucky enough to afford an attorney, they are able to obtain adequate legal representation to appeal the conviction based on DNA evidence. There are, however, currently organisations that focus their efforts on bringing forth DNA evidence for convicts who continue to cite their innocence.

Why do Wrongful Convictions Occur?

There are many reasons why innocent people are convicted of crimes. One study suggested that more than three-quarters of the wrongful convictions examined were the result of a false eyewitness identification. In these cases, the testimony was what ultimately resulted in the individual's conviction. Also, more than one third of the cases entailed inaccurate application of non-DNA forensic evidence. For some of these cases, fraudulent or misrepresented evidence was the culprit. Another issue was false confessions or incriminating statements made by a defendant who was unethically pressured by police and investigators. While there are numerous reasons, the end result was still a wrongful conviction. Sadly, the exoneration for some has come only after decades spent behind bars, which no amount of compensation can every adequately recover for the innocent person.

Future of DNA in Criminal Investigations

With the discovery of DNA, we can fortunately work now to prevent innocent people from being wrongly convicted in the first place. We now have accurate, reliable and successful testing at our disposal. Still, we also have to be careful that we are not too quick to assume that a DNA match showing a person was at the crime scene mistakenly implies they are the perpetrator of the crime. In this sense, DNA works as a complement to other forms of evidence to narrow the pool of possible criminals. Overall, however, we are fortunate to have this kind of technology and it will likely help to prevent innocent people from being convicted while also providing a way to perhaps clear innocent men and women who have already been convicted of a crime.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
thats an interesting topic you have chosen ,i should admire for that, thanks for posting
mandy - 16-Sep-11 @ 7:29 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • spearmannbails
    Re: DNA and Criminology
    no. deoxyribonucleic acid is to be for biology, and biology only.
    24 June 2019
  • Casey
    Re: DNA Testing for Pets
    Hi, I was wondering if there was any chance you could do a DNA test on my dogs ashes, for a long time we suspected he wasnt full Siberian…
    18 June 2019
  • Vee
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Can I text my 4 month old baby ashes, there is pieces of her bone,
    12 June 2019
  • Cami
    Re: DNA Viruses
    Are you able to give me an explanation of how prescribed medicines may cause DNA mutations? As far as I know they can bind the DNA strands…
    11 June 2019
  • Yanagi
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    Dear Ian Murnaghan BSc Passive genetic mutations and recombination with survival of the fittest are impossible, mathematically. Many benefit…
    5 June 2019
  • Banda
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My daughter was born stillborn and was buried. I don’t want to disturb her resting place. Is there anything the hospital would have saved to…
    29 May 2019
  • Sherel
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I had a dna sibling test done and there seem to be a problem with the test that the lab have not told me about yet and I know that my four…
    29 May 2019
  • nc dh
    Re: DNA Studies and the Evolution of Birds
    hfgewvfd hbcdhbchd hdvbhvbhd udfbheir dvudgv
    22 May 2019
  • Afia
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    A section of the DNA that can be delimited according to the function of it's product is called?
    18 May 2019
  • Afia
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    A section of DNA that can be delimited according to the function of it's product is called?
    18 May 2019