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DNA Evidence Changes Police Methods


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  • DNA Evidence Changes Police Methods

    There are two interesting items here. The first is the new photo line-up technique. A Queen's University Study in Ontario showed an error rate of 10% when using the "sequential photo method" and an error rate of 20-40% with the standard array of 6 photos displayed at once.

    The article says the NJ is the first to start doing this...but the DOJ began recommending it two years ago.

    Is anyone out there doing photo line-ups this way already?

    Or, what do you think about the convict's and their DNA?

    Dive in...

    DNA Evidence Changes Police Methods

    Associated Press Writer

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A subtle change in the way crime victims and witnesses in New Jersey will be asked to identify suspects demonstrates how DNA evidence is changing law enforcement.

    For more than two decades, psychologists have been studying the new identification method in which authorities ask witnesses to view pictures of possible suspects one at a time.

    In October, New Jersey will become the first state with guidelines strongly recommending that police use the sequential method rather than displaying an array of photos of suspects.

    Studies have shown that the new method — which doesn't allow witnesses to compare mug shots side-by-side — drastically cuts the number of mistaken identifications.

    In 1999, a study by the U.S. Justice Department found that many cases overturned on the basis of DNA evidence relied heavily on witness identifications of suspects.

    ``Before, we didn't have (DNA) testing, which I think is going to revolutionize law enforcement as much as the fingerprint did,'' state Attorney General John J. Farmer Jr., who called for the change, said Sunday.

    The push for the sequential method came from law enforcement — not advocates of suspects.

    ``As the science gets better, law enforcement serves itself well as we stay current,'' said Kathy Flicker, director of the state Division of Criminal Justice.

    The policy change coincides with another unconventional new program in New Jersey designed to take advantage of DNA evidence.

    As part of the Truth Project, which was unveiled last month, inmates can try to use DNA to establish their innocence — at the state's expense.

    But by enrolling, prisoners give authorities the right to try to match their DNA against samples gathered from the scenes of unsolved crimes — or even future crimes.

    DNA can match people to evidence found at crime scenes — or exonerate them. Flicker said New Jersey has had relatively few cases overturned because of DNA evidence.
    Kevin Woodside
    The Blue Line: Police Opportunity Monitor Newsletter, Publisher

  • #2
    I am not a expert at this but I would say as techolgies are getting more and more advanced that soon DNA testing and encoding is gonna be routine like fingerprinting is today. The fact that DNA is unique to every individual is enough to help the guilty as well as the innocent. If you did not do something your accused of and the fact that your DNA does not match is a pretty good fact that you did not do it. But if you say you did not do it and your DNA is there it is a safe assumption that you had something to do with it. Of course there will be those who will make a profit out of stealing DNA samples to frame someone but right now I do not see that as a problem. Just my opinion.

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