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Clark v. Jeter

Pro And Con: Dna Testing

DNA testing is one tool used in courts to determine biological relations to children. It has also become a powerful weapon in the fight against crime. DNA evidence has significant advantages over traditional forensic techniques. The DNA evidence at a crime scene is usually more plentiful and may be gathered from a number of sources. It does not decay: samples may be analyzed even years after the fact; dramatically, this longevity has in fact resulted in the release from prison of people who were wrongly convicted of crimes.

The basic science underlying DNA "fingerprinting" is accepted by critics of DNA evidence in court cases. They maintain, however, that mistakes are often made during laboratory work. Another contention is that the accuracy of probability estimates--the likelihood of making such a match by chance--are overstated.

Remedies proposed to allay these concerns include "sample splitting," wherein each sample is divided in half and tested at two separate laboratories, and testing of laboratories to determine the quality of their work.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988Clark v. Jeter - Significance, New Directions In Family Law, Important Precedents, Impact, Pro And Con: Dna Testing