This report on the proceedings of the inaugural meeting of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence contains the agenda, individual presentations, the introduction of working groups and associated discussion, report of the Post-conviction Working Group, discussion, and questions from the public and the press.
Introductory remarks by the director of the Office of Science and Technology of the National Institute of justice (NIJ) reviews NIJ's involvement in funding DNA research grants; however, he notes a gap in moving the DNA science out of the laboratory into the field. This is the challenge faced by the Commission. Remarks by the Commission's chairperson include a review of the Commission's mandate to examine how DNA science is being used in the criminal justice system and to determine policies that will maximize the value of DNA in the work of the criminal justice system and improve the use of this technology from investigation through prosecution and post-conviction. A review of the organization of the Commission notes that it consists of working groups in five areas. Only one of the working groups has been formed, the Post-conviction Working Group. The report of the Commission's chairperson is followed by a presentation on the objectives and features of CODIS, the national DNA database of DNA collected from offenders by various law enforcement agencies. This is followed by a presentation on the science of DNA and its relevance for the criminal justice system. Next, the report by the Post-conviction Issues Working Group is presented. It notes the importance of the issues that arise as DNA evolves to uses not available for evidence in past cases. The keynote address and charge of the Commission is presented by Attorney General Janet Reno. The transcript is provided of all discussion comments.
Date Published: March 1, 1998