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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Statutory Purpose

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Statutory Purpose

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

Returning to the concern regarding legal issues, one would think that it means that the FBI and others who utilize CODIS/NDIS only use those means that are explicitly prescribed in their law to support the use of CODIS. However, both the FBI and most states actually have adopted many scientific practices that are not explicitly mentioned in their statutes to support the use of CODIS.16

In this context, those who rely on lack of explicit statutory authorization for familial searching may be confusing the means that are used to achieve the statutory purpose with the explicit statutory purpose—familial DNA searching is just another means to achieve "law enforcement identification." Both California and Colorado implemented familial searching by seeking legislative change. More recently the Virginia Department of Forensic Science reached an identical conclusion when their Attorney General decided that explicit legislative authorization for familial DNA searching was not needed.

16 CODIS has produced many self-imposed practices that are not themselves explicitly authorized by state or federal laws—e.g., number of loci needed to upload a profile, guidelines for uploading mixture profiles and the recommendations from the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods Ad Hoc Committee on Partial Matches: SWGDAM Recommendations to the FBI Director on the "Interim Plan for the Release of Information in the Event of a 'Partial Match' at NDIS" are only a few of many such practices that are not explicitly authorized by statute but are routinely utilized in support of CODIS.

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