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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

John Doe Warrants

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Illustration of human body outline with DNA image in the background with a question mark on top
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Some prosecutors have attempted to avoid the potential expiration of a statute of limitations by filing a "John Doe" warrant.

When DNA evidence is recovered and typed, it has a unique identifying character. If the DNA cannot be matched to a known individual (because no one has been arrested or the DNA does not match any profile in a database), there is no name to attach to the DNA.

Therefore, in a John Doe warrant, the suspect is identified by the suspect's unique DNA profile.

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