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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

The Daubert Test

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The Daubert test is also known as the "relevance" test, and requires the prosecutor to demonstrate:

  1. The validity of the underlying scientific theory employed in obtaining the DNA typing,
  2. The reliability of the scientific test used, and
  3. The usefulness of the scientific evidence to the jury.

Daubert does not require general acceptance in the scientific community, although this may be one of the factors taken under general advisement by the court.

The "reliability" required by Daubert may be shown by a number of factors:

  • Whether the underlying principles are scientifically valid
  • Whether it is capable of being tested
  • Whether the method has been subjected to peer review
  • The known or potential error rate
  • The existence and maintenance of standards in performing the technique
  • Whether the method is generally accepted
  • Whether there is a non-judicial use or experience with the method

However, the above list is not mandatory or exclusive. (Kumho Tire Co, Ltd. v. Carmichael, 526 U.S. 137; 119 S. Ct. 1167; 143 L. Ed. 2d 238 (1999).

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