Bill!, 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 is 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 15 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 that 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 them and more likely to protect the innocent rather than convict them. Nothing is 100% failsafe tho. Mike ________________________________ From: "billsm...@hhs1963.org" <billsm...@hhs1963.org> To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com Sent: Mon, 25 October, 2010 13:15:08 Subject: [Zen] Non-zen Question for Mike 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. Thanks.Bill! __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5560 (20101024) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com