Tuesday, July 22, 2003

DNA yours or mine?

Now they have isolated two genes that they say tells you if you're more likely to be depressed. What does that mean? It could mean that you should stay in jail because you are more likely than not to continue your offending behaviour according to a Department of Corrective Services Forensic Psychiatrist.

1. An editorial ("Exclude Volunteer Samples From Database") in an article of The Miami Herald notes that what happened to Jorge Garc’a makes the case for why police must take great care with DNA evidence. Specifically, when a volunteer offers a DNA sample and the specimen doesn't match the criminal sought by police, the sample should be discarded. It shouldn't be added to the DNA Database.

That didn't happen in Garc’a's case and, but for the grace of God and the victim who came forward to prove his innocence, Garc’a might still be languishing in jail branded as a rapist.

Although the DNA sample that Garcia willingly gave to Miami police cleared him in the ongoing Miami serial-rapist case, the specimen did link him to an unsolved 1996 rape. Miami police arrested him, then dropped the charges the next day after the victim said that he wasn't her attacker. Rather, she and Garc’a, who were in a relationship at the time, had consensual sex shortly before she was raped.

Imagine now that, for whatever reason, the victim in this old case was either unavailable, uncooperative or hostile.

She could have died, moved to another country, been angry about the relationship's termination or simply been unaware about the news of Garc’a's arrest.

How long would Garc’a have been jailed for something he didn't do? Days? Weeks? Months? How long is too long? Indeed, would he have been brought to trial on the strength of DNA evidence alone?

Asking potential suspects to volunteer DNA in order to clear them makes sense. [?] After all, police often need help in tracking down dangerous, elusive offenders, such as the Miami rapist.

[No they don't need any help and it is not recommended that people volunteer their DNA, because DNA can be planted at a crime scene as has happened.]

Updated 2009:

Corrupt police planting DNA evidence at crime scenes

Others have raised concerns about corrupt police planting DNA evidence at crime scenes.

Military lawyers await probe on DNA tampering

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command said nearly 500 forensic test results from all services dating back 10 years are under review after one of its examiners allegedly faked results. About 119 of those cases pertain to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder

As long as the the prisoners DNA wasn't planted at the crime scene. It is one thing to force prisoners to hand over their DNA and another thing to exploit it.

DNA Evidence of Bipartisanship

Last week the U.S. Congress passed the Justice for All Act, which includes provisions of the Innocence Protection Act. As of this posting, the legislation has not yet been signed by President Bush. Attached is an analysis of the legislation prepared by the Justice Project.

But police can discourage the volunteer help they rely on when they use DNA samples for purposes other than the investigation at hand.

[Or frame people for unsolved crimes to make police and government look good, under the guise of Noble Cause Corruption, so be very discouraged indeed.]

In this case, it was unfortunate that the Miami PD gave public assurances that the DNA voluntarily donated in the serial-rapist case would be discarded ''when this is over'' before knowing, in fact, that the policy of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is to enter all samples processed into its permanent Database. Such misleading signals can cause a breach in public trust with police.

True, the FDLE consent forms are clear, in English and in Spanish. Nonetheless, why should the DNA of someone who only resembles a police sketch be thrown into a Database with DNA collected from crime scenes, convicts and the criminally accused? It shouldn't be. DNA mustn't become the latest tool for a government that acts like Big Brother. [? New World Order.]

2. Michael Shirley, who spent 16 years in British prisons for the murder of a barmaid, has been exonerated by post-conviction DNA testing and released from prison today by the Court of Appeal. The three-judge bench in London quashed Shirley's conviction after hearing that new DNA evidence established he was "probably not" the man who killed the victim in Portsmouth in December 1986.

[Post conviction testing that is not going to happen in NSW, because Parliament said?]

Shirley had always protested that he did not kill the 24-year-old victim. The jury at his 1988 Winchester Crown Court trial did not believe him. Neither did the Court of Appeal the following year. But recent exhaustive DNA tests carried out on trial exhibits pointed to an unknown man who, the defense argued, was the real killer.

[May even have been a cop. Remember if the conviction is wrong then the killer is still, raping and killing!!]

Shirley, originally from Warwickshire, was an 18-year-old sailor on shore leave when the barmaid was raped and murdered. He was arrested six months later and has been in prison ever since. He completed the recommended minimum 15 years of his life sentence, but was refused parole because he still protested his innocence and was therefore regarded as having "failed to address his offending."

[Many prisoners in NSW have protested their innocence too and they've been smashed for it again.]

At the time of the crime, the victim was walking between a friend's house in Portsmouth and her home in Southsea when she was raped. Her larynx was crushed by the heel of the killer, who stamped on her body so hard that he left an imprint of the logo from the sole of his shoes.

It was the police hunt for the shoes 250 pairs of which had been sold in Portsmouth that year alone which led to the case being dubbed the Cinderella murder, [Labeled and tried by media doesn't help]. And Shirley owned a pair. He was also one of the third of all British males who share a blood group type with the murderer.

The fact that his shoes were at his parents' home in Leamington Spa, and that he had an alibi, did not dissuade police and they arrested him some six months later. He was convicted and jailed for life in 1988.

Over the years, he has sent hundreds of letters in an unflagging attempt to clear his name. In 1992 his case was cited as one of 110 possible miscarriages of justice in a dossier given to the Home Office by the National Association of Probation Officers and two civil liberties groups but nothing was achieved.

Almost two years ago, crime scene DNA evidence was found in a police storage room. The Crime Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal after examining the new evidence. That Court filed its decision today exonerating Shirley.

3. The Houston City Council agreed yesterday to spend $169,000 to hire a nonprofit group to run the HPD Crime Lab for the next three months. National Forensic Science Technology Center Inc. will hire managers for the lab and its DNA division before recommending to the Council in the next few weeks whether it should seek national accreditation for the lab and whether to continue DNA testing.

By Mine 22 July 03


DNA = Do Not Assume - DNA Controversies!
The national DNA database of all known offenders proposed by Prime Minister Tony Blair could mean that innocent people will be accused of crimes they did not commit.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder As long as the the prisoners DNA wasn't planted at the crime scene. It is one thing to force prisoners to hand over their DNA and another thing to exploit it.