Argument i advances in post conviction dna testing

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ARGUMENT I. Advances in Post-Conviction DNA Testing Since Petitioner’s Trial 50. Since the time of the Petitioner’s 1990 conviction and sentence, a revolution in science and law enforcement has taken place. While available for limited purposes during Petitioner’s trial in 1990, in the ensuing fifteen years DNA evidence has become the foremost forensic technique for identifying perpetrators and eliminating suspects when biological tissues such as saliva, skin, blood, hair, or semen are left at a crime scene. See Nat’l Inst. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 17
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Postconviction DNA Testing: Recommendations for Handling Requests , Publ’n No. NCJ 177626 at 1 (Sept. 1999). 51. These advances have largely been made possible through the development of STR-DNA testing and state and federal DNA databases in the last five years. These databases, which contain inventories of millions of STR-DNA profiles from unsolved cases and from convicted offenders, are solving old and new crimes at unprecedented rates. Law enforcement officials now have the ability to definitively link known suspects to crimes and identify previously unknown perpetrators through “cold hits” to these DNA databanks, which were unheard of at the time of Petitioner’s 1990 trial. 52. For example, from April 2000 to October 2003, approximately 1200 convicted felons in New York were connected to unsolved crimes through the State’s DNA database. See Michael Zeigler, “DNA ‘Cold Hits’ Put Freeze on Felons,” R OCHESTER D EMOCRAT AND C HRONICLE , Oct. 20, 2003, at 1A (describing the significant role of DNA identifications in solving unresolved crimes in New York State). Through March 2006, CODIS, the F.B.I.’s Combined DNA Index System, has resulted in 33,168 “investigations aided.” 7 In New York alone, there have been 3,919 “investigations aided” through CODIS. Id. With more than ten percent of the nation’s total, New York is second only to Florida in the number of cases in which CODIS has yielded a DNA match that otherwise would not have developed. 8 7 Defined as “a metric that tracks the number of criminal investigations where CODIS has added value to the investigative process.” Fed. Bureau of Investigations, Investigations Aided, http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/codis/aidedmap.htm (last visited May 30, 2006). 8 As of April 2006, Florida was credited with 4,458 “investigations aided,” in contrast to New York’s 3,919. Fed. Bureau of Investigations, investigations aided, http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/codis/aidedmap.htm (last visited June 5, 2006). Nationally, 34,193 investigations have been aided through CODIS profiles. Id. 18
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53. Not only is DNA testing helping apprehend the guilty, but it is also serving to identify the wrongly accused and convicted. DNA evidence is a method of establishing the identity of the perpetrator of a crime that is far more reliable than nearly any other type of identification proof, including eyewitness identification, confessions, or rudimentary forensic science, such as conventional serology.
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