Category Archives: Case Law

DC Court Rules STRmix Source Code Inspection Is Available, But Unnecessary

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Noting that STRmix™ – the sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles – “is not a secret product, as defendant characterizes it,” a Washington, DC Superior Court has denied a defense request to compel the prosecution in District of Columbia v. James Brandon (Case No. 2017 CF2 006160) to provide source code for STRmix™.

A DNA Test Might Help Exonerate This Man. A Judge Won’t Allow It.

In “Case in Point,” Andrew Cohen examines a single case or character that sheds light on the criminal justice system. An audio version of Case in Point is broadcast with The Takeaway, a public radio show from WNYC, Public Radio International, The New York Times, and WGBH-Boston Public Radio.
Over the past decade, laboratories and lawmakers have expanded the power of DNA to exonerate the wrongfully convicted. Scientists can coax accurate results from trace amounts of DNA, even old or degraded samples. All 50 states allow post-conviction DNA tests.

Employers cannot use genetic information to make employment decisions

A health care center in Phoenix recently addressed the question of whether it could legally obtain DNA from its male employees.
The facility needed to determine whether any of its workers was responsible for impregnating a woman who had been living at the facility in a vegetative state for 10 years following a drowning.

Phoenix PD Give Details On Sex Assault Investigation At Hacienda

In a statement on Tuesday, Hacienda said it welcomed the development in the ongoing police investigation. The company said that they themselves had consulted attorneys to determine whether it would be legal for them to compel employees to undergo DNA testing or whether they could conduct voluntary DNA testing of their employees.
“We were told it would be a violation of federal law in either instance,” the company said in a statement.

Supreme Court Clears Dennis Man Linked to 2009 Armed Robbery

The justices held that the DNA-tolling exception applies only when the state obtains DNA evidence that directly matches the defendant to physical evidence of a crime.
Further, the court noted that in Twiggs’ case, a grand jury indicted him based primarily on Tracy’s confession and his subsequent implication of Twiggs as a co-conspirator in the armed robbery.
“There exists no direct link between the DNA extracted from the physical evidence and Twiggs.

Tyrone Noling case: Ohio Supreme Court rules on DNA evidence

CLEVELAND, Ohio – In a decision issued today, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that death row inmate Tyrone Noling can have access to only part of the powerful DNA evidence his legal team says could point to another killer.

National DNA database helps crack cold cases

Helix3For more than a decade after he broke into a Toledo home, raped and hogtied a woman who’d been asleep in her bed, Aaron Lamont Beamon got away with the violent crime.
It would take time and the nation’s massive database of DNA samples to catch up with Beamon.
Now 39, he is to be sentenced Sept. 9 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty in June to rape, kidnapping, burglary, and robbery in connection with the Oct. 15, 2001, attack on the 21-year-old victim.

Ga. bill looks to expand DNA sampling for suspects

Georgia cold casesAUGUSTA, Ga.–The state of Georgia could soon start collecting DNA from accused felons before they’re ever convicted of any crime. It’s part of Senate Bill 135. The DNA would go into the statewide database in hopes of solving more crimes and exonerating people serving time for crimes they didn’t commit.

Indiana Supreme Court rules on evidence

Gavel2INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that criminal defendants aren’t entitled to question in court every person who handled evidence used against them.

DNA could speak for a long-dead, long-unknown L.A. baby

Baby Jane DoeAnd here, sorrowfully, she is again. Another dead child, her name unknown for almost three decades.
Now that New York’s cold case of another long-dead, long-unknown child has been solved, Los Angeles is hoping that its anonymous little girl, Baby Jane Doe #61, found dead in 1985, might also be matched with a name, and even a family — and one day, maybe linked to whoever neglected her to death.

Can DNA collected off feminine hygiene product be used in court?

DNA and justiceLAWRENCEVILLE, Va. (WTVR) – After more than a decade the woman accused of killing and then tossing the bodies of her newborn twins down a trash chute will once again face a judge. During Thursday’s suppression hearing, the court will decide if the evidence against Darnesha Paulita Berry will be allowed at trial.

Md. public defenders weighing appeals in DNA cases

Justice and DNAANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is seriously considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in two cases involving rape convictions where DNA analysts’ reports were used but the analysts themselves never testified.

DNA Leads to Arrest in Idaho Cold Case Murder

DNA DatabaseBOISE, Idaho — For 15 years, Boise Police Detective Mark Ayotte has kept Kay Lynn Jackson’s files on his desk. He felt the unsolved murder as a heavy and constant weight.
In 1999, Ayotte told the Idaho Statesman that he had faith that DNA evidence would one day lead to her killer.
Ayotte’s DNA prophecy proved true. After more than 1,000 leads came up empty, it was a DNA “profile” that finally broke the case, police said Wednesday.

Kentucky criminals must have access to evidence for DNA testing, Supreme Court rules

GavelTwo offenders serving life sentences for murder based on “highly circumstantial evidence” should have access to evidence to conduct DNA testing that wasn’t available at the time of their trial, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

Federal Court Rules Phoenix Police Officers Can Be Forced to Give DNA Samples Without Warrant

GavelWASHINGTON, DC — Judicial Watch announced today a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Arizona dismissing a lawsuit by Phoenix police officers Daniel Bill, Bryan Hanania, and Michael Malpass, who were forced to give DNA samples in the “Death Unknown” case of slain police officer Sean Drenth.