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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Prioritizing Evidentiary Samples

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National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

After determining what evidentiary samples are appropriate for submission based on the state's theory of the case, prosecutors should prioritize the samples for analysis.  Prosecutors may want to consult with their DNA analyst prior to typing the evidence to determine which evidentiary items are most likely to yield results. Prosecutors should be mindful of the laboratory's limited resources and its case backlog, and consider the financial consequences of typing multiple items whose evidentiary value may be merely cumulative.  The choice of items to be tested should be guided by identifying the real issues at trial and the evidentiary items most likely to aid in their resolution. 

Prosecutors need to identify for the lab the specific items to be typed. If an item initially typed does not yield results, prosecutors must identify and prioritize other items to be typed. They should remember the analysis cannot be completed without reference samples for comparison purposes from the suspect and/or victim and/or crime scene. Additionally, prosecutors should be prepared to obtain by consent or court order.

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