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  1. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elle_1 View Post
    Oh cynic, I just had my lunch. I'm thinking I might lose it after reading the above story of mortuary technician Kaihl Brassfield. Very disturbing!
    It is disturbing. It’s also the kind of situation where you don’t know what else might have been going on, and don’t want to know.

  2. #86

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    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...urt-cases.html

    Mariya Goray of Victoria Police Forensic Service Centre in Australia and her colleagues re-enacted several scenarios loosely based on real events in which DNA from a defendant was found on a victim's clothes or a murder weapon, and where the defence argued that it could have got there indirectly. Mimicking the scenario described in the intro, Goray asked a volunteer to handle a child's vest and wooden toy for 1 minute before these objects were rubbed against the front of a lab coat, which represented pyjamas. They found that enough of the volunteer's DNA transferred to clearly identify him (Legal Medicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2011.09.006).

    ....Problems may also arise when evidence or bodies are examined on supposedly clean laboratory surfaces. Thorsten Schwark at the University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany, and his colleagues swabbed the shoulders and buttocks of six cadavers after they had rested on autopsy tables. They found that four of them were contaminated with DNA from bodies that had previously rested on the table - in two cases with DNA from more than one person (Forensic Science International, DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.09.006). "This may seriously influence the interpretation of trace analysis results taken during autopsies," says Nicole von Wurmb-Schwark who was also involved in the work. For example, fragments of DNA from previous autopsies could mask or confuse DNA profiles from genuine assailants.

  3. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...urt-cases.html

    Mariya Goray of Victoria Police Forensic Service Centre in Australia and her colleagues re-enacted several scenarios loosely based on real events in which DNA from a defendant was found on a victim's clothes or a murder weapon, and where the defence argued that it could have got there indirectly. Mimicking the scenario described in the intro, Goray asked a volunteer to handle a child's vest and wooden toy for 1 minute before these objects were rubbed against the front of a lab coat, which represented pyjamas. They found that enough of the volunteer's DNA transferred to clearly identify him (Legal Medicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2011.09.006).

    ....Problems may also arise when evidence or bodies are examined on supposedly clean laboratory surfaces. Thorsten Schwark at the University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany, and his colleagues swabbed the shoulders and buttocks of six cadavers after they had rested on autopsy tables. They found that four of them were contaminated with DNA from bodies that had previously rested on the table - in two cases with DNA from more than one person (Forensic Science International, DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.09.006). "This may seriously influence the interpretation of trace analysis results taken during autopsies," says Nicole von Wurmb-Schwark who was also involved in the work. For example, fragments of DNA from previous autopsies could mask or confuse DNA profiles from genuine assailants.
    Thanks for posting this, fr brown.

    Of course, it's always been clear to me (and many others) that this "foreign" DNA had to be transference. All the other evidence clearly leads back to the Ramseys--especially the ransom note, which I will always believe Patsy wrote.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
    My opinions, nothing more.

  4. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by koldkase View Post
    Thanks for posting this, fr brown.

    Of course, it's always been clear to me (and many others) that this "foreign" DNA had to be transference. All the other evidence clearly leads back to the Ramseys--especially the ransom note, which I will always believe Patsy wrote.
    Thanks for all the good information you post fr brown. This DNA sure does cause confusion.

    Like you and other posters here KK, I believe it was Patsy who wrote the ransom note.
    elle: The RST can't handle the truth!
    Just my opinion.

  5. #89
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    I'm sure I'm in good company here KK when I say the JonBenét Ramsey case flashes through my head when watching episodes of a few TV Crime shows. One statement is mentioned over and over again ... "I/we never meant for this to happen". It always comes immediately after a tragic accidental incident which has taken place; like someone dying from whatever they were attempting to do etc. This brings back to my mind Patsy Ramsey making this statement to Pamela Griffin, which makes me believe for sure Patsy was responsible for JonBenét's death.
    elle: The RST can't handle the truth!
    Just my opinion.

  6. #90

    Default DNA, IDI’s Ship of Dreams

    The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic has generated a fair bit of media attention and I guess it had been in the back of my mind as I read an article about a criminal investigation which had staked everything on the “unsinkable” DNA evidence that it believed it had.
    DNA is an easy “out” for those who don’t like to think, to make the effort to put ALL of the pieces of a circumstantial case together. This applies equally to investigators and juries.
    For some investigators, rather than following evidence within the context of the totality of the evidence, they can become mesmerized by DNA and occasionally be led astray.
    For jurors, fed on a steady diet of CSI, common sense is often cast aside and DNA evidence is valued above all else.
    And for those who, despite the evidence to the contrary, want the Ramseys to be innocent, DNA has become a ship of dreams. What is set aside is everything else, chronic abuse of JonBenet, Patsy’s authorship of the ransom note, and on and on it goes.

    The case against DNA
    Genetic profiling was once hailed as a magical tool to catch criminals. So why is it now in danger of being discredited?
    By William Langley, 06 Mar 2012

    Sitting in the dock of a brightly lit courtroom, David Butler cocks his head to one side as he listens to the prosecution’s case against him.
    A former taxi driver from Wavertree, in Liverpool, Butler is accused of murdering a local prostitute, Anne Marie Foy. At some point on the night of September 15 2005, the prosecution alleges, the 65-year-old picked Foy up in his car, took her to a secluded woodland and battered her to death with a branch from a tree. He then dumped her body in Liverpool city centre.
    Looking at Butler today it seems unlikely. Gaunt and grey-haired, he is beset by breathing difficulties (COPD) and sits in the dock with an oxygen bottle at his side. But the prosecution have what they say is conclusive evidence: traces of Butler’s DNA under the victim’s nails. There is, says Mr Nigel Power, the prosecuting QC, “a one billion-to-one chance” that the DNA belongs to anyone else. Foy must have torn at Butler’s skin as he attacked her, as she fought desperately to save her life.
    Thanks to fast-paced television crime shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, we have come to regard DNA evidence as uncontestable. The prosecution in Liverpool Crown Court has no other proof that ties Butler to the murder — showing just how much store they place in the science. But DNA is losing its aura of invincibility.
    Defense teams that once seemed helpless before the glossy, hi-tech slide shows presented by prosecutors have become far bolder in challenging the quality of the science.
    High-profile cases such as that of Amanda Knox — acquitted by an Italian court of murdering her flatmate after a trial that hinged almost solely on DNA evidence — have fed the notion that such evidence, with a little lawyerly ingenuity, can now be fought and discredited.
    The trial of David Butler, which ended last month, provided a near-perfect stage for airing these new doubts. When the police first investigated Foy’s murder in 2005 they failed to produce a suspect. But then, as part of a “cold case” review last year, officers rechecked whether the DNA discovered under Anne Marie Foy’s nails had any matches on the national DNA database.
    For some reason, first time around, no matches were found. This time, however, one turned up: a sample recovered from a cigarette butt found in 1998 after a burglary at the defendant’s mother’s house. The police originally believed the butt had been left by the burglar. Instead it led them to Mr Butler who had apparently dropped it during a visit to comfort his mother. After the taking of a full DNA profile, which, again, matched the DNA under the finger nails, the cabbie was charged with murder. This was at the heart of the prosecution’s case.
    But Michael Wolkind, Butler’s QC, took the science apart. The testing procedures were unreliable, he told the jury. The analysis of the DNA under Foy’s nails had been done at a time before higher-quality standards for handling samples were established. And, he said, even if the DNA was the defendant’s, there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for how it got there.
    Butler suffers from a dry skin condition so severe that his nickname in the local cab trade is “flaky”. He could have taken a passenger to the Red Light district, handed over some notes in change and passed on his DNA to the passenger who then met with Foy and later handed the notes, complete with Butler’s DNA, to her.
    “The idea that Mr Butler violently attacked her is beyond belief,” Wolkind told the jury. “Mr Butler never met the deceased, and unsafe science cannot change that fact.”
    [SNIP]

    Prof Jamieson’s approach is more combative. He has appeared as an expert witness for the defense in several important DNA-centered trials, most notably that of Sean Hoey, who was cleared of carrying out the 1998 Omagh bombing which killed 29 people. Jamieson’s main concern about the growing use of DNA in court cases is that a number of important factors — human error, contamination, simple accident — can suggest guilt where there is none. Police and prosecutors, he alleges, have come to see DNA evidence as a shortcut to convictions, and juries are ill-equipped to understand the complex scientific data.
    “Wherever you have humans involved, you’ll have the potential for mistakes,” he tells me. “There’s a growing realization that the system is not foolproof.” In particular, he worries about the tiny amounts of DNA (known as Low Count DNA) that can now be used as the basis of a trial. Modern technology allows forensic teams to capture DNA from two or three cells, as opposed to hundreds or thousands of cells, as used to be the case, and Jamieson believes these sort of minuscule samples are unreliable.
    “Does anyone realize how easy it is to leave a couple of cells of your DNA somewhere?” he asks rhetorically. “You could shake my hand and I could put that hand down hundreds of miles away and leave your cells behind. In many cases, the question is not ‘Is it my DNA?’, but ‘How did it get there?’”

    On February 10, after 11 hours of jury deliberation, Butler was cleared.
    Afterwards, at his home in Wavertree, he accused the police of being “fixated” on the DNA and failing to provide any other evidence. “If they’d been a bit more robust with their investigations over five-and-a-half years it would not have got to this stage,” he said. “The DNA stopped good policemen doing a good policeman’s job. It was like that was all [the evidence] they needed. They could never say it was my DNA. They talked in probabilities but you cannot put a probability on a man’s life.”
    [SNIP]

    Dozens of learned papers have been written extolling the virtues of DNA as a “magic bullet” in the identification of suspects.
    Yet, in a perverse way, this dependency has become a problem. In the Amanda Knox trial, the Italian police presented virtually no other evidence that the 24-year-old American university student had murdered her English flatmate Meredith Kercher. With no obvious motive, no witnesses, no confessions and very little in the way of circumstantial evidence, the Italian prosecutors built a case almost entirely around the finding of Ms Knox’s DNA on the knife used to slash Ms Kercher’s throat. The defense was able to blow gaping holes in the case, demonstrating that the DNA samples could have been contaminated by stray DNA, misinterpreted, or have an innocent explanation. A damning review of the DNA evidence by a team of American experts suggested that it was mishandled and wrongly analysed.
    In the United States, where DNA has assumed an ever more central role in the courtroom, lawyers have proven predictably skilled at undermining its credibility. An entire sub-speciality of law has evolved called DNA-rebuttal and dozens of people have either had convictions overturned or secured not-guilty verdicts in trials that looked certain to end with the opposite conclusion.
    William Thompson, a criminologist specializing in DNA-based forensics at the University of California, criticizes what he calls “the rhetoric of infallibility” surrounding DNA profiling.
    “We’ve seen images of wrongfully convicted people being freed by this marvelous new technology,” he says, “and guilty ones being brought to justice, and we are invited to believe that this is a gold standard, a truth machine. It isn’t that simple. The fact is while DNA is generally quite reliable; it is not by any means infallible.” Thompson’s argument sounds even more convincing in the light of a recent report by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, which revealed that different DNA laboratories around the country produced wildly differing analyses of the same samples. The confusion is compounded by the realization that not everyone leaves DNA in the same way. Some people shed cells more easily than others. Five people, for example, could be seated around a table, and only one of them would leave a trace.

    [SNIP]
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/9...ainst-DNA.html


    Postscript:
    You would think that finding the man described below who had bullied the victim, Anne Marie Foy, would potentially solve the case, but the lure of DNA caused the investigation to veer in a completely different direction.

    In the first day of evidence, the jury of seven women and five men yesterday heard from friends of the victim.
    Ms Foy was living with Pamela Doyle and Martin Ainscough in Deane Road, Kensington, at the time of her death.
    Michael Wolkind QC, defending, told the court that in a statement to police, Ms Doyle had said the victim “was being taxed or bullied by a black man”.
    “He was demanding money, a bit of every transaction she made and she was unhappy and scared about that man.”
    Ms Doyle said Ms Foy rarely talked about her line of work but admitted “dipping punters” – taking their wallet or money from their trousers, if she got the chance.
    Shortly before her death she told Ms Doyle she had stolen around £300 from a man she took into the bushes on Crown Street, near to the University of Liverpool, where her body was later found.
    The prosecution say stealing from a punter may have been the reason she was murdered.
    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liver...#ixzz1siFX7yxS


    The court also heard evidence yesterday from Carla Shaw, who was a prostitute and drug addict in 2005.
    She told the jury Ms Foy was “like a mum” to her and her sister Stacy, who also worked the streets, and they had seen the victim hours before she was killed.
    During often confused evidence, Miss Shaw said she had heard “shouting, like an argument” coming from an area on Crown Street around the time it is alleged the murder took place.
    Later on, she said, she saw “a black man who looked dodgy” running away but looking back.
    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liver...52-30144763/2/

  7. #91
    Join Date
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    Canada
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    cynic,

    Thank you for this interesting post. I can well remember how excited we all were when DNA was first discovered, now it's just causing havoc. The quicker they stop using it, the better off we will all be. It's too dangerous now! Innocent people can be accused too easily!
    elle: The RST can't handle the truth!
    Just my opinion.

  8. #92

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic has generated a fair bit of media attention and I guess it had been in the back of my mind as I read an article about a criminal investigation which had staked everything on the “unsinkable” DNA evidence that it believed it had.
    DNA is an easy “out” for those who don’t like to think, to make the effort to put ALL of the pieces of a circumstantial case together. This applies equally to investigators and juries.
    For some investigators, rather than following evidence within the context of the totality of the evidence, they can become mesmerized by DNA and occasionally be led astray.
    For jurors, fed on a steady diet of CSI, common sense is often cast aside and DNA evidence is valued above all else.
    And for those who, despite the evidence to the contrary, want the Ramseys to be innocent, DNA has become a ship of dreams. What is set aside is everything else, chronic abuse of JonBenet, Patsy’s authorship of the ransom note, and on and on it goes.

    The case against DNA
    Genetic profiling was once hailed as a magical tool to catch criminals. So why is it now in danger of being discredited?
    By William Langley, 06 Mar 2012

    Sitting in the dock of a brightly lit courtroom, David Butler cocks his head to one side as he listens to the prosecution’s case against him.
    A former taxi driver from Wavertree, in Liverpool, Butler is accused of murdering a local prostitute, Anne Marie Foy. At some point on the night of September 15 2005, the prosecution alleges, the 65-year-old picked Foy up in his car, took her to a secluded woodland and battered her to death with a branch from a tree. He then dumped her body in Liverpool city centre.
    Looking at Butler today it seems unlikely. Gaunt and grey-haired, he is beset by breathing difficulties (COPD) and sits in the dock with an oxygen bottle at his side. But the prosecution have what they say is conclusive evidence: traces of Butler’s DNA under the victim’s nails. There is, says Mr Nigel Power, the prosecuting QC, “a one billion-to-one chance” that the DNA belongs to anyone else. Foy must have torn at Butler’s skin as he attacked her, as she fought desperately to save her life.
    Thanks to fast-paced television crime shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, we have come to regard DNA evidence as uncontestable. The prosecution in Liverpool Crown Court has no other proof that ties Butler to the murder — showing just how much store they place in the science. But DNA is losing its aura of invincibility.
    Defense teams that once seemed helpless before the glossy, hi-tech slide shows presented by prosecutors have become far bolder in challenging the quality of the science.
    High-profile cases such as that of Amanda Knox — acquitted by an Italian court of murdering her flatmate after a trial that hinged almost solely on DNA evidence — have fed the notion that such evidence, with a little lawyerly ingenuity, can now be fought and discredited.
    The trial of David Butler, which ended last month, provided a near-perfect stage for airing these new doubts. When the police first investigated Foy’s murder in 2005 they failed to produce a suspect. But then, as part of a “cold case” review last year, officers rechecked whether the DNA discovered under Anne Marie Foy’s nails had any matches on the national DNA database.
    For some reason, first time around, no matches were found. This time, however, one turned up: a sample recovered from a cigarette butt found in 1998 after a burglary at the defendant’s mother’s house. The police originally believed the butt had been left by the burglar. Instead it led them to Mr Butler who had apparently dropped it during a visit to comfort his mother. After the taking of a full DNA profile, which, again, matched the DNA under the finger nails, the cabbie was charged with murder. This was at the heart of the prosecution’s case.
    But Michael Wolkind, Butler’s QC, took the science apart. The testing procedures were unreliable, he told the jury. The analysis of the DNA under Foy’s nails had been done at a time before higher-quality standards for handling samples were established. And, he said, even if the DNA was the defendant’s, there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for how it got there.
    Butler suffers from a dry skin condition so severe that his nickname in the local cab trade is “flaky”. He could have taken a passenger to the Red Light district, handed over some notes in change and passed on his DNA to the passenger who then met with Foy and later handed the notes, complete with Butler’s DNA, to her.
    “The idea that Mr Butler violently attacked her is beyond belief,” Wolkind told the jury. “Mr Butler never met the deceased, and unsafe science cannot change that fact.”
    [SNIP]

    Prof Jamieson’s approach is more combative. He has appeared as an expert witness for the defense in several important DNA-centered trials, most notably that of Sean Hoey, who was cleared of carrying out the 1998 Omagh bombing which killed 29 people. Jamieson’s main concern about the growing use of DNA in court cases is that a number of important factors — human error, contamination, simple accident — can suggest guilt where there is none. Police and prosecutors, he alleges, have come to see DNA evidence as a shortcut to convictions, and juries are ill-equipped to understand the complex scientific data.
    “Wherever you have humans involved, you’ll have the potential for mistakes,” he tells me. “There’s a growing realization that the system is not foolproof.” In particular, he worries about the tiny amounts of DNA (known as Low Count DNA) that can now be used as the basis of a trial. Modern technology allows forensic teams to capture DNA from two or three cells, as opposed to hundreds or thousands of cells, as used to be the case, and Jamieson believes these sort of minuscule samples are unreliable.
    “Does anyone realize how easy it is to leave a couple of cells of your DNA somewhere?” he asks rhetorically. “You could shake my hand and I could put that hand down hundreds of miles away and leave your cells behind. In many cases, the question is not ‘Is it my DNA?’, but ‘How did it get there?’”

    On February 10, after 11 hours of jury deliberation, Butler was cleared.
    Afterwards, at his home in Wavertree, he accused the police of being “fixated” on the DNA and failing to provide any other evidence. “If they’d been a bit more robust with their investigations over five-and-a-half years it would not have got to this stage,” he said. “The DNA stopped good policemen doing a good policeman’s job. It was like that was all [the evidence] they needed. They could never say it was my DNA. They talked in probabilities but you cannot put a probability on a man’s life.”
    [SNIP]

    Dozens of learned papers have been written extolling the virtues of DNA as a “magic bullet” in the identification of suspects.
    Yet, in a perverse way, this dependency has become a problem. In the Amanda Knox trial, the Italian police presented virtually no other evidence that the 24-year-old American university student had murdered her English flatmate Meredith Kercher. With no obvious motive, no witnesses, no confessions and very little in the way of circumstantial evidence, the Italian prosecutors built a case almost entirely around the finding of Ms Knox’s DNA on the knife used to slash Ms Kercher’s throat. The defense was able to blow gaping holes in the case, demonstrating that the DNA samples could have been contaminated by stray DNA, misinterpreted, or have an innocent explanation. A damning review of the DNA evidence by a team of American experts suggested that it was mishandled and wrongly analysed.
    In the United States, where DNA has assumed an ever more central role in the courtroom, lawyers have proven predictably skilled at undermining its credibility. An entire sub-speciality of law has evolved called DNA-rebuttal and dozens of people have either had convictions overturned or secured not-guilty verdicts in trials that looked certain to end with the opposite conclusion.
    William Thompson, a criminologist specializing in DNA-based forensics at the University of California, criticizes what he calls “the rhetoric of infallibility” surrounding DNA profiling.
    “We’ve seen images of wrongfully convicted people being freed by this marvelous new technology,” he says, “and guilty ones being brought to justice, and we are invited to believe that this is a gold standard, a truth machine. It isn’t that simple. The fact is while DNA is generally quite reliable; it is not by any means infallible.” Thompson’s argument sounds even more convincing in the light of a recent report by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, which revealed that different DNA laboratories around the country produced wildly differing analyses of the same samples. The confusion is compounded by the realization that not everyone leaves DNA in the same way. Some people shed cells more easily than others. Five people, for example, could be seated around a table, and only one of them would leave a trace.

    [SNIP]
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/9...ainst-DNA.html


    Postscript:
    You would think that finding the man described below who had bullied the victim, Anne Marie Foy, would potentially solve the case, but the lure of DNA caused the investigation to veer in a completely different direction.

    In the first day of evidence, the jury of seven women and five men yesterday heard from friends of the victim.
    Ms Foy was living with Pamela Doyle and Martin Ainscough in Deane Road, Kensington, at the time of her death.
    Michael Wolkind QC, defending, told the court that in a statement to police, Ms Doyle had said the victim “was being taxed or bullied by a black man”.
    “He was demanding money, a bit of every transaction she made and she was unhappy and scared about that man.”
    Ms Doyle said Ms Foy rarely talked about her line of work but admitted “dipping punters” – taking their wallet or money from their trousers, if she got the chance.
    Shortly before her death she told Ms Doyle she had stolen around £300 from a man she took into the bushes on Crown Street, near to the University of Liverpool, where her body was later found.
    The prosecution say stealing from a punter may have been the reason she was murdered.
    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liver...#ixzz1siFX7yxS


    The court also heard evidence yesterday from Carla Shaw, who was a prostitute and drug addict in 2005.
    She told the jury Ms Foy was “like a mum” to her and her sister Stacy, who also worked the streets, and they had seen the victim hours before she was killed.
    During often confused evidence, Miss Shaw said she had heard “shouting, like an argument” coming from an area on Crown Street around the time it is alleged the murder took place.
    Later on, she said, she saw “a black man who looked dodgy” running away but looking back.
    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liver...52-30144763/2/
    Good read. Thanks for sharing. Can you imagine how easy one could get pinned for a crime when they are using this trace (touch) DNA more and more?

    I still think it's a good bet that this unknown JBR DNA came from the bicycle handle bars that JBR got for Christmas.

  9. #93

    Default

    Interesting metaphor, cynic. Thanks for the DNA updates, as well.

    It's as good a guess as any, Learnin, but we may never know. The only person I can say with certainty wasn't the donor of that DNA was an intruder.

    I was doing some googling today for some case photos. As the years go by, it's surprising what drops into the discussion sometimes--artists in particular have their expressions of the injustice, the absurdity, etc.

    One thing I noticed: with all the personal blogs online now, I find there are plenty of people who aren't buying the Ramsey spin, particularly young people. For one thing, they know more about DNA through school science than we do.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
    My opinions, nothing more.

  10. #94

    Default DNA, a video tutorial

    This video is from the Casey Anthony trial.
    I edited the testimony of Heather Seubert, a former supervisor in the FBI DNA analysis unit at Quantico, VA.
    She presents a good overview of DNA although, unfortunately, we also have to see and hear Jose Baez in these videos.
    The total time is about 20 minutes.

    Part One:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0lAyzJcbs0

    Part Two:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-09JyK4oAA

    Part Three:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaWbzwAA_eU

  11. #95

    Default Fallible DNA evidence can mean prison or freedom

    I linked to this article earlier in this thread, but now you can read the whole thing without a subscription: http://www.newscientist.com/article/...html?full=true


    We took a mixed sample of DNA evidence from an actual crime scene--a gang rape committed in Georgia, US--which helped to convict a man called Kerry Robinson, who is currently in prison. We presented it, and Robinson's DNA profile, to 17 experienced analysts working in the same accredited government lab in the US, without any contextual information that might bias their judgement.

    In the original case, two analysts from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Robinson "could not be excluded" from the crime scene sample, based on his DNA profile. (A second man convicted of the same crime also testified that Robinson was an assailant, in return for a lesser jail term.) Each of our 17 analysts independently examined the profiles from the DNA mixture, the victim's profile and those of two other suspects and was asked to judge whether the suspects' profiles could be "excluded", "cannot be excluded" or whether the results were "inconclusive".

    If DNA analysis were totally objective, then all 17 analysts should reach the same conclusion. However, we found that just one agreed with the original judgement that Robinson "cannot be excluded". Four analysts said the evidence was inconclusive and 12 said he could be excluded.

    "Fingerprinting and other forensic disciplines have now accepted that subjectivity and context may affect their judgement and decisions," says Dror. "It is now time that DNA analysts accept that under certain conditions, subjectivity and even bias may affect their work."

  12. #96

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fr brown View Post
    I linked to this article earlier in this thread, but now you can read the whole thing without a subscription: http://www.newscientist.com/article/...html?full=true


    We took a mixed sample of DNA evidence from an actual crime scene--a gang rape committed in Georgia, US--which helped to convict a man called Kerry Robinson, who is currently in prison. We presented it, and Robinson's DNA profile, to 17 experienced analysts working in the same accredited government lab in the US, without any contextual information that might bias their judgement.

    In the original case, two analysts from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Robinson "could not be excluded" from the crime scene sample, based on his DNA profile. (A second man convicted of the same crime also testified that Robinson was an assailant, in return for a lesser jail term.) Each of our 17 analysts independently examined the profiles from the DNA mixture, the victim's profile and those of two other suspects and was asked to judge whether the suspects' profiles could be "excluded", "cannot be excluded" or whether the results were "inconclusive".

    If DNA analysis were totally objective, then all 17 analysts should reach the same conclusion. However, we found that just one agreed with the original judgement that Robinson "cannot be excluded". Four analysts said the evidence was inconclusive and 12 said he could be excluded.

    "Fingerprinting and other forensic disciplines have now accepted that subjectivity and context may affect their judgement and decisions," says Dror. "It is now time that DNA analysts accept that under certain conditions, subjectivity and even bias may affect their work."
    Great article, fr brown. Thanks for sharing. It really brings so much into perspective for us, who have asked questions about that Lacy-stamped DNA exoneration without so much as a document to back it up.

    Here are more relevant excerpts:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...html?full=true

    Fallible DNA evidence can mean prison or freedom

    11 August 2010 by Linda Geddes


    [snip]

    "Fingerprinting and other forensic disciplines have now accepted that subjectivity and context may affect their judgement and decisions," says Dror. "It is now time that DNA analysts accept that under certain conditions, subjectivity and even bias may affect their work." Dror presented the results at the Green Mountain DNA conference in Burlington, Vermont, last month.
    Labs must also take steps to avoid bias. Butler says that some labs continue to insist upon seeing suspect profiles before analysing evidence from the crime scene, which could lead to biased decision-making (see "Crime Scene Investigation: Impartiality"). Analysts also often know too much about a suspect and other evidence to be impartial, and public labs often have close ties to police. "Crime labs, including DNA labs, should not be under the control of a law enforcement agency," says one US analyst, who wished to remain anonymous. "We are scientists, not cops or prosecutors."

    In our survey using the Georgia sample, respondents were blinded to contextual information about the case. Larry Mueller of the University of California in Irvine says we may have seen different results if the data had been presented to them by police officers or prosecution lawyers. "The difference between you giving them the data and saying 'what do you make of it?' and the local district attorney giving them the data and saying: 'We've arrested someone, is his profile in here?' is huge," he says.

    Bruce Budowle, a former head of the FBI's DNA lab, would also like to see labs employ a second analyst to review initial conclusions, and all of this data be made available to defence teams.

    Eighteen of the labs that we surveyed said they already conduct independent reviews. However, in the majority of cases, the reviewer is allowed to see the first analyst's conclusions, as well as the original data. "Technical peer reviews are a good step, but I can point to several examples where peer-reviewers just rubber-stamp the cases," says a different US analyst, who works in a private DNA lab that carries out case work for the police. In the case of a disagreement, 15 of the labs said a supervisor would be called in to make the final call, but only two labs said that this disagreement would be documented in their final report.
    Anyone who thinks the DNA in the Ramsey case is bulletproof should read the whole article. The section about inconsistent standards applied to the level of the DNA peaks of alleles is also quite informative regarding "drop-in" markers and subjective results:


    Variable thresholds

    The problem of subjective interpretation could be further exacerbated by differences in procedure between labs. According to a second survey conducted by New Scientist, many crime labs set their own thresholds for how high a peak must be to demonstrate the presence of an allele, and these can be inconsistently applied.

    New Scientist sent a questionnaire to crime labs in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. Of the 19 that replied, we found that four labs routinely allow analysts to use their discretion when interpreting peaks whose height is below their statistical cut-off. A further two said that although it wasn't routine, there were circumstances when analysts could use their discretion. Fifteen labs said that they did not have a minimum requirement below which someone would be excluded from a mixture.
    Since Bode Tech went on a massive high profile PR campaign with their "touch" DNA results in the Ramsey case, I think there is some real question about their objectivity in testing. And by PR I mean Lacy HAD to approve of Bode going EXTREMELY public with their results because it is still an open case...unless you ask JOB Ramsey, who says it's dead.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
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    3 Dimensional

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