This report on the proceedings of the fourth meeting of the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence contains the agenda, participants present, an update on Commission business, and the presentation and discussion of reports of the Commission's working groups.
The Legal Issues Working Group report included a discussion of the legal issue of dealing with the statute of limitations on offenses where advances in DNA technology needed for a conviction become available after the statute of limitations has expired. Privacy interests in the securing of DNA evidence directly from a person without a warrant were also discussed. The report of the Post-conviction Issues Working Group reviewed efforts in the States regarding the elimination of statutes of limitations in certain cases where biological evidence is available but has not been matched to any suspect. Evidence retention rules and statutes were also reviewed and discussed, along with the collection of data on DNA-related exonerations and indigent representation in post-conviction cases that involve new DNA evidence. The Crime Scene Investigation Working Group report addressed two major issues: the training of first responders and criminalists in the detection, protection, and preservation of DNA evidence and the role of DNA evidence in unsolved cases. A related presentation pertained to training and education issues in rural law enforcement. The Laboratory Funding Working Group report focused on the funding and other resources needed to eliminate the backlog of DNA-related crime scene material. Related presentations were given on DNA sample collection from arrestees and suspects. A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) then spoke on whether or not DNA evidence should be withdrawn from arrestees. The transcript is provided on participant comments and questions related to presentations and reports.
Date Published: March 1, 1999
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