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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Cold Cases

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Cold cases are typically cases which have gone unsolved for more than one year. The term is used to differentiate between unsolved cases which do not have cold hits as yet. A jurisdiction may have hundreds of unsolved cases in which evidence was never submitted for DNA typing. Some jurisdictions have developed protocols to prioritize their resources, based on established criteria which may include:

  • A suspect lead
  • Whether there is physical evidence which may yield DNA evidence
  • Whether the victim and/or witnesses are still available

Ideally, cases which meet these criteria should be reviewed by a multidisciplinary team composed of prosecutors, case investigators and lab analysts to determine what evidence should be submitted for DNA typing and to develop an investigative strategy.

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