Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just a Little Touch DNA

I always leave these conferences with mixed opinions.  Some of the speakers are terrific.  Clear, concise, funny, and a teacher at the same time.  Some you struggle to stay awake through.  This was no different.

Two things I learned:  1) New York state forensic scientists are highly intelligent and highly professional.  The labs they work for go through rigorous review and they remain neutral when analyzing evidence and testifying.  The analyst doesn't care if the DNA will send someone to jail for the rest of their life or if it will exonerate an innocent man.  They only care about accuracy.  2) I still couldn't tell you how they get to their conclusions.  I think the only way to actually learn how DNA testing works is to do it. 

I doubt they'd let me anywhere near a lab.

Anyone that doesn't believe DNA typing is valid science should sit through this conference.  The smartest people in the world are making amazing advances in this field.  It's incredibly accurate science with a tremendous amount of safeguards.

I didn't learn any ways to keep jurors awake during the testimony, but I'll keep trying.  It will depend on the case.  If DNA is a small segment of a case, I will not focus on the scientific part of the testimony.  If DNA is the whole case, then I'll put all the jurors to sleep with incredibly detailed testimony.   


  1. Well that certainly makes me feel better about DNA! As much as it is a part of our media, tv shows, books, etc. it is still a mystifying topic!

  2. I'm with you, understanding DNA in all its complexities is beyond me. I do know that jurors lap up the conclusions and good DNA evidence presented by a good scientist is golden. The only problem I have with it is when jurors start to expect it in every case - I had jurors in a DWI case want it to prove the defendant was the driver. Fine, but he was caught behind the wheel after being pulled over on camera!

  3. They do want it in every case, although that's the first DWI I heard a request for it. If no DNA, the whole case comes down to preparing the jurors for it in jury selection I think.