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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

DNA Typing

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Photo of a chemist in a lab studying dna through a microscope
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

DNA typing evidence was first admitted in a U.S. court in Florida in the late eighties [Andrews v. State, 533 So.2d 841; 13 Fla. L. Weekly 2364 (Fla. Dist. Ct . App. 1988)]. Since then, DNA typing has gained acceptance in courts throughout the country as courts recognized the sheer power of this new forensic tool to identify the source of biological evidence. There are two aspects of DNA typing: the typing technique itself and the statistical probability estimate once a match is found. Each or both of these may be the subject of a pretrial admissibility hearing which in turn will be regulated by statute, rules of evidence, or case law.

Prosecutors have successfully met the many defense challenges to DNA typing, regardless of what admissibility standard were applied. Through documentary evidence presented by the prosecutor, courts should deny or limit the scope of any admissibility hearing based on the scientific and legal communities' established acceptance of DNA methodologies. Prosecutors should argue that DNA typing procedures and DNA forensic identification are so well accepted and established that an admissibility hearing is not justified and should be afforded judicial notice.

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