Forensic evidence is a specialised area for criminal lawyers so I'll tread 
carefully on this subject. Firstly, each case turns on its own facts so you'd 
have to go through each situation (regarding dna) case by case. Secondly, I 
don't think it's correct to say that any ruling is automatically over-turned 
because of dna evidence. True, there have been situations where a person has 
been exonerated, but you're correct to say that this doesn't prove the person 
innocent. But this is just as true as when there is insufficent evidence to 
convict someone, but this doesn't equate to their innocence either. 

My opinion is that new advances in science are just as applicable in the court 
room setting as they are anywhere else. If you were wrongly convicted of rape 
years ago primarily because a rapists mask was found in your possession, I'm 
thinking you'd be pretty happy when dna testing on the perspiration inside the 
mask didn't match your own. Even things like the saliva on the back of a 
stamp can go on to prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) who did or didn't send 
stalking/threatening/murder letter. In my experience, most criminals are pretty 
dumb so dna evidence is much more likely to convict the guilty than release 
and more likely to protect the innocent rather than convict them. Nothing is 
100% failsafe tho.


From: "" <>
Sent: Mon, 25 October, 2010 13:15:08
Subject: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike


In a previous post you indicated you had gone to law school.

Could you tell me why (or at least give me your opinion as to why) DNA
evidence seems to be treated as some kind of super-evidence in our judicial
system? I thought there were only two types of evidence: direct and
circumstantial. Why would DNA evidence be treated differently as some other
kind of direct evidence, such as eye-witness testimony or fingerprints?

Also, why are so many prisoners' convictions being overturned because of new
DNA evidence? For example, if someone was convicted of murder, and a hair
or skin or blood or semen sample taken from the victim shows DNA that is not
the same as the one convicted, why does that AUTOMATICALLY overturn the
verdict? The convicted could have still killed the victim and the DNA might
have come from someone else also involved.

It just seems like DNA is used like a trump card in our judicial system
instead of just another piece of evidence to consider.


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