FBI admits problems with DNA testing

Agency states that certain DNA tests may be inaccurate.

In many criminal cases, there is forensic evidence recovered at the scene of the crime. These materials may include hair or bodily fluids of the suspected offender. In particular violent crimes, such as murder or sex offenses, many of the convictions hinge on the results of DNA tests of evidence found at the scene.

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has admitted that some of the results of their DNA tests have been inaccurate. The tests concern the likelihood that the DNA belongs to a certain offender. When material is being examined, officials often state that the DNA profile is likely to exist only in a certain group of individuals.

In some cases, there is a very large number associated with the profile, so these errors may not make much of a difference in the end result. Whether it is one quadrillion or 110 quadrillion, it is likely that the DNA will still match.

The errors involve partial DNA profiles. In many cases, there is not enough material found to gain a full DNA profile. When tests are performed, the likelihood of the DNA belonging to the offender is much smaller, perhaps 1 in 100,000, for example. This greatly increases the chances that the DNA belongs to someone other than the suspect.

The agency is notifying crime labs of some of the cases it feels may need a second review. If more questions arise over the use of DNA evidence in the courtroom, it could have a very dramatic effect on the way violent crimes are investigated and prosecuted.

Prosecutors have substantial resources at their disposal when they are testing the DNA at issue in the crime. If you do not have your own team performing similar tests, you could find yourself forced to accept whatever their results determine. As the science continues to evolve, you need to stay informed about your options.

If you have been charged with a serious crime, you may not understand the impact of the evidence that police will be using against you. By speaking to an experienced criminal defense attorney, you will have a much better idea how to defend yourself against these allegations.

When DNA is going to be a crucial component of a case, it is important that you work with a legal team that knows how to attack and explain the evidence. This will help the jury or judge understand the potential issues with DNA, and allow you to build a much stronger defense on your behalf.