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DNA Technology In Criminal Justice

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DNA analysis is one of the greatest technical achievements for criminal investigation since the discovery of fingerprints. Methods of DNA profiling are firmly grounded in molecular technology. – Committee on DNA forensic science, National Academy of Sciences.

For this project I chose to do DNA in the criminal justice field. What is DNA? Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for sure, is the chemical in cells that specifies the composition of proteins along with other cellular components, contributes to their synthesis. DNA is also largely responsible for the inheritance characteristics of organisms. The proper collection and Analysis of DNA can convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent. Improvements have been made throughout the years of DNA to be more reliable, solve cases and release innocent people. In the years of Science in forensic science it’s been more advanced to identify DNA samples from hair, bones, skin and tissue, and every small amounts of blood and other body fluids.

DNA profiling was originally made as a method to find out paternity of a baby, which the samples are taken in a clinical condition and examine for genetic evidence that could point a direction that who the father is. It made its first appearance in courts in 1986, police in England asked Alec Jeffreys who was a molecular biologist. He soon after started in his investigation to verify a confession made by a 17 year old boy in a rape and murder of two young girls in English Midlands. The test proof the teenager wasn’t the perpetrator and the actual murderer was caught later on, using the same DNA testing that was used on the 17 year old boy. The first DNA base conviction in the United States occurred in 1987 in Orange County Florida. This same DNA that was used in 1986 was used again this time on Tommy Lee Andrews who was convicted of rape. They took a sample from Tommy and found the semen traces on the rape victim. They ran the evidence and it pointed right back at Tommy. The first state High Court to rule in favor of admitting DNA evidence came two years later in West Virginia. In the following years cracking these cases using the DNA was great for the officers who were working to figure out who committed these crimes. That began to change once this technique began to become more widely used by prosecutors. Soon defense attorneys begin challenging the accessibility of a DNA test.

Alec Jeffreys did not invent DNA but figured out the way to test it and actually link a DNA sample to a victim to its culprit . As I read through these books and articles about DNA, I’ve come to realize that DNA actually is one of many great inventions in the criminal justice field. I say this because without DNA it’ll be harder to find criminals harder to find murders harder to link anything together. As I read I’m realizing what effects DNA has in many things just not criminal justice. DNA was first used for genetic uses only, if it wasn’t for the police in England who asked Alec Jeffreys to test a sample of DNA we would not have this option now. By not have I mean that it would have taken longer to figure out how to do this.

Before Alan Jeffries became the face of DNA testing, in 1953 two scientists named James Watson and Francis Crick announce that they have determined the double helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing the human gene. Although DNA discovered in 1869, Watson and Crick actually open the door for Alec Jeffreys because Watson and Crick determined the double helix structure of DNA basically the molecule containing the human genes that helps DNA in forensics to link the victim to the person who assaulted them.

The types of similar technology that is currently being used by law enforcement now are still the same just more modified throughout the years that it’s been used. DNA testing goes a long way not only with blood and fingerprints but now we can test for more we can get the whole biography on a person with simple DNA test. Technology actually improved when they created the DNA chip technology, this technology not only it is quick but it helps actually run the process of a DNA test. This invention was great for not only law enforcement but for detectives because it test the DNA in a smaller amount of time then waiting hours. This provides law enforcement with a better hand at getting the culprit fastener and it is also cost-effective. Police still use DNA testing in many ways from blood, hair, fingerprints Etc. These Technologies are still used as of now they’ve been more advanced than it’s been in 1986. Law enforcement (Louis R. Vitullo Chicago Police Sargent) started a rape kit, to help victims of sexual assault and rape build a case against their rapist. DNA helped link victims to their attackers basically. These kind of Technologies actually help save people, when I say help save people I’m talking about the next person. You would always read about a serial rapist or a serial killer because some people don’t speak up after a rape and some victims of murders are never found. With the invention of DNA, we’re able to store DNA from 70 years ago and still use it in 2019. When a person goes back to report an attack the DNA will be stored in the police files and we’ll always have the attackers DNA on file. Even if the DNA is it linked anything or anybody, sooner or later that DNA or resurface for another person.

When people report attacks it actually helps the next person. Law enforcement also, I say law enforcement also because when a rape kit or a DNA sample gets submitted it helps law enforcement because forensics is already trying to determine the link between all the DNA samples in the database compared to the one that’s given. That is how Alec Jeffreys solved the murders of the two victims whose DNA was submitted by law enforcement. From there on in DNA was always evolved throughout the years going. Technology changed the way forensics test DNA, we find new ways of testing just like DNA chip technology.

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Law enforcement is employing this technology because it helps solve cases. DNA isn’t all about looking for rapist or murderers but felons who are still out there. This gives law enforcement a chance to actually detain these people from society. In 1990, Virginia became the first state to enact and all felons law that requires DNA from anyone convicted of a felony. Most states around that time include only certain defenses such as sexual assault. By 1999, Six States had a felon database and today there are 38 states with this legislation. The remaining states have some legislation in review to expand the DNA database to include all felons. The way DNA expanded into the database has led to a lot of growing numbers of Cold Case files, meaning that there was no suspect that was identified but DNA and samples of the scene was still there. Some states started submitting cold-case samples to get DNA testing. In 2002, Virginia the first state to execute a criminal convicted of murder and rape based on a cold hit. As testimony to the importance of DNA database, the convicted felon, James Earl Patterson was already serving time for a rape and was scheduled to be released in 2004. This is the reason why law enforcement employees this technology. This technology not only helps victims now but it’s helping victims from later cases that still needed solving. This just shows you how great DNA actually is because saving that DNA sample from felons can actually save somebody’s life in the future. DNA testing from 70 years ago like I said earlier can still be tested now and this itself just proved it. DNA from any crime scenes can now be used to provide police with a composite profile of a suspect using Parabon Snapshot DNA phenotyping. Snapshot can provide a kinship interference, to determine the familial relationship between any two individuals, even distantly related. DNA phenotyping uses SNPs to identify genomic ancestry. A person’s precise ancestry can be determined on a global level.

In the following paragraphs I will explain the roles of the press, politicians and the public in adopting of this technology. The Press will always adapt with this technology because this gives them not only headlines but gives them a whole bunch of stories. I say this because and every high top cases of murder, the Press were always there. The OJ Simpson case was particularly a big one for the Press. OJ Simpson was claimed the murderer in this case but DNA had a different story to that case. There was two sides of the press once I saying that he did it and the other side saying that he didn’t do it. This new technology gave the press a lot a story’s basically. It made headlines for them on Plenty of big cases that went on during the years of DNA being out there. The Press I believe love this technology being invented because it gives them something to talk about. Even if they were wrong it was still a story that was going to be told and pressed up on in every magazine, news article, and even the news that everybody is watching every night. The majority of these cases that the Press were speaking about always had a DNA result at the end of it which helped them make their articles. Made them make up a story for the public to view. This is where the public jumps right into this technology, the majority of the public believes everything the press shows is real and this is why most people don’t understand what is being spoken about. Because the press will make up so many different stories to have the public believe what they are talking about even if what they’re talking about doesn’t pertain to that case. Dr. Denise Syndercombe-Court, reader in forensics genetics, King’s College London and Euroforgen researcher, said ‘ we all enjoy a good crime drama and although we understand the difference between fiction and reality, the distinction can often be blurred by overdramatized pressed reports of real cases. As a result most people have unrealistic perceptions of the meaning of scientific evidence, especially when it comes to DNA, which can lead to miscarriages of Justice.’ She also added: ‘ as we develop this guide, even readers who were professionally involved in criminal justice were surprised by some of the information it contained, this particular showed me how important the guide is in explaining science that, thought complex, really does need to be widely understood.’ In politics on October 30, 2004, President George Bush signed the justice for all act would significantly enhanced funding and guidelines for the use of DNA technology in the judicial process. Amongst these things, the Act made the rights for convicted felons to obtain post-conviction DNA testing if they searched their innocence and that the DNA tested produce new evidence in support of that innocence, and the DNA test will create a reasonable probability that the applicant did not commit the offence. This act actually strengthened this law for people who were convicted of crimes that they can prove that they were innocent in. In addition, this law authorizes grants to States and local governments to analyze DNA samples and approve DNA Labs. It promotes quality assurance in DNA testing by requiring these labs to undergo accreditation and auditing at least once every two years to prove compliance with Federal standards. Under this law CODIS is expanded to allow State Crime labs to include the DNA profiles of all individuals whose DNA samples were lawfully collected, including samples from arrestees and juvenile adjudicated delinquent. The law also extends the statue of limitation at the federal level in cases where DNA testing implicates a perpetrator until the time that perpetrators actually identity is discovered.

There are a lot of drawbacks concerning the DNA testing in the criminal justice field, from my sayings I would say that one of the main drawbacks of the DNA testing in the criminal justice field is that most people who are labeled as criminals are wrongfully convicted because their DNA may have been at the scene but they were the Killer, rapist etc. In the following paragraphs I will write about some research that I found about DNA testing from different countries end in America itself. Countries around the Grove I have many concerns that DNA testing is in infringement of civil liberties. In Britain like we spoken in class police are allowed to take your DNA from anyone arrested for offenses, because of this Britain actually has the largest DNA database in the world. On the other hand in the United States, DNA samples can exist in database permanently. The majority comes from convicted criminals, but many come from people who have been exonerated or proven innocent. But because DNA test can be conducted on any body tissues, individuals do not necessarily have to concede 2 DNA testing in order to be tested. It is because of this that civil liberty organizations are concerned opponents of DNA testing in DNA shortage. As I was referring to where a people are wrongfully convicted because of DNA that was left from a person who wasn’t involved in that case could always land a person in jail for a murder or a crime that they are actually innocent. This was actually a concern four innocent people.

My honest opinion on DNA testing I would say we should actually do this for every community as they do in Britain. I say this because I I was raped when I was 9 years old, it was a very sensitive subject to talk about when I was younger and the person who raped me continue doing it throughout more years a while I was younger. It came to the point where I actually decided to speak up or it was going to always happen regardless of how I see it. DNA testing wasn’t something I knew at that age. I used to always say how do I convince people what I’m saying is true. As the years went it continues to happen to the point where I didn’t want to live anymore. When I was 12 or 13 I believe I spoke up to one of my counselors in school. I was beyond mortified, I was scared but I knew I had to do this. I knew I had to do this because there was more than a couple of young girls that this person was around. I didn’t want to embarrass my family because it happened to be a family member but the truth was going to come out sooner or later. So the day that I spoken to my counselor, I was assaulted before I was sent to school. My counselor called CPS and the local police department. They conducted something called a rape kit, at 12 or 13 I had no clue what was going on. They did all the testings with the kit and I was so scared. Weeks went on after the assault and the guy who assaulted me DNA was actually found on me. I was so happy when they arrested this guy because I had a gut feeling and still do that there was more then just me who he was doing this to. This is why I believe DNA is one of the greatest technology invented in the criminal justice field. I never had to see this person ever again in my life and still hope to never see him again.

DNA testing is something that should be required just like Britain has it. I’m not saying that DNA testing should be used to scare people or think that somebody is taking their Justice and freedom away. I just think that DNA testing could help in the long run for cases like mine, cold cases and anything likewise. I know everybody may think that this is wrong to have a DNA testing done for any kind of arrest, but these kind of testing’s can help people like me, people who lost a loved one who’s never going to come back, and people who are missing can be found. DNA testing is it just for rape kits, DNA testing is for murders, cold cases, and peoples who were found dead but never had an identity. If DNA was allowed to be taken as it is allowed in Britain I believe every Cold Case that is out there can be found as soon as it was out there. I believe when I was younger for me speaking up, had other people speak up people who are older than me and people who are younger than me. My faith in the DNA test is always going to be 100%. This DNA evidence that was found in my assault help me put the past behind me. I don’t think if DNA wasn’t invented, nor the DNA testing every person who wants to do evil would have gotten away. As I read through my research notes, books, and articles I’ve noticed that DNA testing for criminal justice is evolving to be coming a testing that will help innocent people not be arrested for somebody else’s crimes.

I say I agree 100% that the agency should adopt this technology. I say this because in my statements from this research paper will actually tell you why. This DNA testing could help local law enforcement solve cases that were lingering for justice and can also put the right people behind bars and get the innocent ones out. If I could be a person that could make laws, I would set Britain’s law where if you are arrested you will have to submit a DNA test. Usually swapping the inside of the mouth with a Q-tip. This type of policing can actually serve the community better than we believed it would. This technology open the door for solving cases, putting the right criminals in jail and helping victims like me get through emotional damage like I have. This technology can save so many people’s lives, just like police officers protect people, so does DNA testing because nobody has the same DNA unless they are identical twins. Fingerprints is the only type of DNA that everybody has their own and nobody’s are the same. This technology in the near future well Advanced to something bigger than we’ve ever imagined. I really hope that this technology doesn’t actually Advance sooner, because it’ll help Free People who were wrongfully convicted of a crime that they have not committed.

I’m glad that this was what I chose as my research topic because I myself learned a lot about a technology (rape kit), and how it was used to help people like me. With the simple inch of DNA. This technology saved my life, if my rapist was never found out about, I don’t think I would be here writing this paper right now. People may not understand what people go through until you see it from your point of view. I’m glad to say I survived this and I think it all to the technology called DNA testing.


  7. DNA AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM : The Technology of Justice
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DNA Technology In Criminal Justice. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“DNA Technology In Criminal Justice.” Edubirdie, 21 Feb. 2022,
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