How a DA used an “inconclusive” DNA result to imply it supported the victim’s testimony

No one ever denies that criminal trials are merely a war of words supporting implications of guilt or innocence. The experts were not at the crime scene, and neither was the jury nor the judge.

That’s what makes victim visual IDs of the assailant so powerful. In this case, from notorious Lakeland County, Ill, the trial prosecutor had his DNA expert run the table on an accused defendant by implying an “inconclusive” (read: not good for either identifying or excluding a person of interest) could have IDed the defendant if the sample was larger.

There’s a good portion in this article about what the defense attorney didn’t accomplish in response to all this.

From the new article:

“The prosecutor and his witness now compounded the problem in a series of questions and answers. Having testified that “no conclusion could be made” about the secondary source, the expert now testified that even though the DNA testing of the secondary source did not point to Cameron, it did not exclude him either.

The expert suggested that the primary source of DNA — that did not come from Cameron — might be masking out the DNA type in the second source that could be Cameron’s. She even implied the test might have shown a match if only there had been more DNA to work with.

So in just a few steps, the prosecution went from telling jurors the results were “inconclusive” to suggesting the jury could conclude, by inference, that Cameron was the rapist.”

http://www.wbur.org/2016/01/05/pittsfield-dna-cameron-freed

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in AAFS, expert testimony, Forensic Science Bias and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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