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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Limiting Analysis to the Most Probative Evidence

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Limiting Analysis to the Most Probative Evidence

photo of a lab technician filling a test tube
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

It may be a waste of laboratory time and agency money to demonstrate that a suspect's DNA profile is on multiple items of evidence. Repeated unnecessary testing prevents other cases from being analyzed and increases the backlog.

For example, only in extraordinary cases would it be necessary to test the floor, bed, clothing, etc. for a suspect's semen if it was already identified on the vaginal swab taken from the victim.

If a victim's blood is found on a suspect's hand, collecting swabs of the victim's blood from additional locations could be considered unnecessary. Laboratories must also be mindful of how to prioritize the evidence they receive to avoid this kind of excessive testing.

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