Courtesy of Fernanda Torres of the Innocence Project Northwest.
The National Institute of Justice issued a report titled “DNA for the Defense Bar“.
Summary: DNA for the Defense Bar is the newest addition to a series of NIJ guides that aims to improve the use of forensic DNA in the criminal justice system. Designed specifically for criminal defense lawyers, it:
- Offers a primer on the science of DNA, from collection at a crime scene to laboratory analysis and findings.
- Provides general discussions on working with a criminal defense client and preparing a defense, including the testimony of a DNA expert witness and cross-examining prosecution DNA witnesses.
- Offers guidance regarding trial issues (for example, jury selection and opening and closing statements) and includes an in-depth discussion of the statistics with respect to CODIS match probabilities.
- Include a discussion of post-conviction DNA testing.
This is the fourth publication in a series designed to increase the field’s understanding of the science of DNA and its application in the courtroom (see “Foreword” of this report). Other three are:
■■ Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court: nij.gov/training/dna-officers-court.htm.
■■ DNA: A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook: nij.gov/training/dna-prosecutors-notebook.htm.
■■ DNA for Law Enforcement Decision Makers: nij.gov/training/dna-decisionmakers.htm.