Law-Dialectic-DNA

Law-Dialectic-DNA - 2 On the night of July 23, 1997, Larry...

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On the night of July 23, 1997, Larry Fisher left Saskatoon with the contents of his home packed into a U-Haul trailer and headed west to Calgary. It was there that Calgary city police arrested him and charged him with the 1969 rape and murder of Gail Miller (Eisler 21). David Milgaard had suffered twenty- three years in prison before DNA testing exonerated him and implicated Fisher in the aforementioned crimes. Twenty-three years of suffering that will never happen again if the government creates a nationwide database with a sample of every Canadian citizen’s DNA. Granted, DNA testing was nothing in 1969 relative to today, but an appeal at a date earlier than July 18, 1997 would have been possible had such a database existed. The Milgaard case is not unique within itself. Similar events exist in the cases of Guy Paul Morin’s conviction for the 1984 slaying of Christine Jessop, the 1972 murder conviction of Donald Marshall, and the 1987 murder conviction of Wilson Nepoose (Eisler 22). In all of the previous cases, DNA evidence later exonerated or could have exonerated the convicted. Emphasis must be on the fact that these cases are not isolated incidents. For this reason, and others, it would be in the government’s best interest to create a nationwide database with the DNA fingerprint of all Canadian citizens. With the almost irrefutable uniqueness of DNA fingerprints using today’s technology, this type of evidence is extremely damning in a court of law. While the Canadian government has no actual standard, the Federal Bureau of 2
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Investigation maintains a thirteen loci (26 bands, 2 per locus) fingerprint of all DNA found and analyzed. According to Ann Meeker-O'Connell, a member of the science department of How Stuff Works , the chances of 2 separate DNA fingerprints of this complexity matching is close to one in one hundred billion (5). To put this into perspective, you would need to sample the entire population of the earth over 16 times to receive a false match. Because of this, arrest and conviction of guilty parties to many crimes would be swift and without error. The ease of prosecution that DNA evidence creates alleviates the investigative burden on current law enforcement agencies. The probable effect of which would be a lowering of money spent by the law enforcement agencies and the justice system. The current cost and hassle of acquiring DNA from suspects would be
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This essay was uploaded on 03/18/2008 for the course LAW 08 taught by Professor Wall during the Fall '04 term at Holy Cross (MA).

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Law-Dialectic-DNA - 2 On the night of July 23, 1997, Larry...

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