After the Supreme Court's ruling allowing seizure of arrestees' DNA, the Washington Post notes that the technology is far from fulfilling its promise of aiding law enforcement to identify criminals and letting the innocent go free. A Department of Justice study estimated that around 900,000 requests for biological screening, mostly DNA testing, were backlogged nationally at the end of 2009. The large numbers of kits from routine arrests may be making the problem worse, argues University of Virginia law Prof. Brandon Garrett. "As taking more DNA from arrestees has increased, the backlogs have increased at the expense of testing DNA from actual crime scenes," he said. Garrett said that simply adding a DNA sample from everyone who is arrested might even make it harder for police to identify criminals, increasing the likelihood of false positives without adding any perpetrators to the system. Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project, agreed, and disagrees with the court ruling, saying that its reasoning could open the way for large numbers of minor offenders’ DNA profiles to be pointlessly added to databases.
TCR at a Glance
new & notable October 24, 2014
Nearly half of students assessed in a national survey reported experiencing bullying or intimidation, according to a study in the Journal...
October 23, 2014
Medicaid payments for services to ex-incarcerated funded ‘lavish lifestyle’ of nonprofit owners, say state investigators
new & notable October 22, 2014
A new study in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice aims to isolate risk factors associated with youths who commit homicide
new & notable October 21, 2014
Victims often pay high prices to get to the U.S., then find themselves trapped in conditions "resembling slavery," according to a new rep...
special report October 20, 2014
A content analysis of 6 US papers raises questions about the quality of justice news coverage
new & notable October 17, 2014
A study of one South Bronx (N.Y.) youth diversion program finds significant benefits for both participants and the community
October 16, 2014
A new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute provides guidance for police on conducting stops without harming community rel...