DNA evidence can be a big factor in a wide range of different criminal cases. Now, DNA evidence, just like other types evidence, is not immune to being flawed or inaccurate. There are various things that could throw the accuracy of DNA evidence off. One is if the testing of such evidence isn’t handled right by a DNA lab.
In another state, problems with a DNA lab have brought thousands of criminal convictions into question.
The state in question is Texas. A state audit found that a police crime lab in one Texas city, Austin, didn’t engage in proper testing when it came to DNA samples it was sent. Specifically, the audit found that the testing procedures that the lab’s staff engaged in were incorrect and outdated. The lab is currently shuttered, having been closed down last June.
Authorities have identified around 2,200 individuals who were convicted in cases that might have been impacted by improper DNA testing by the lab. These cases are from 2004 to 2016. These individuals may have appeal options. Prosecutors are taking efforts to notify these individuals of the situation.
While this particular matter is from Texas, it is important to note that DNA testing problems could pop up anywhere in the U.S., including here in Wisconsin. Thus, the points that this matter underscores are quite relevant here in Wisconsin. This includes the point that mishandled DNA testing can have major impacts in criminal cases, possibly even resulting in wrongful convictions.
So, when a person is fighting a criminal charge or appealing a conviction here in Wisconsin, one thing it can be very important to look into is the specifics of the testing practices done on any DNA evidence presented in their case. Skilled defense attorneys can help individuals look into DNA evidence issues, such as DNA testing issues, during criminal proceedings and criminal appeals.
Source: Austin American–Statesman, “2,200 convicted persons to be notified of Austin DNA lab problems,” Tony Plohetski, Feb. 9, 2017