Philadelphia Criminal Law News

3 Ways DNA Can Make or Break Criminal Cases

Proof that DNA has a huge impact on criminal cases: DNA evidence has linked a suspect in sexual assault case in Wisconsin to at least three unsolved sexual assaults in Philadelphia.

After Wisconsin police entered the suspect's DNA into a national database, Philadelphia detectives found a match between the DNA and sexual assault, according to Madison's WIBA.

Due unique nature of DNA, what are three ways DNA can impact criminal cases?

1. Linking unsolved cases to potential suspects. DNA can be the missing link between multiple unsolved cases. In the Wisconsin case, the perpetrator's DNA helped Philadelphia investigators solve three violent sexual assault cases. DNA can also help establish a pattern of crimes that could assist police in catching the criminal. In Pennsylvania, two murders were confirmed to be committed by the same person after the same DNA was found on both victims.

2. Exonerating innocent defendants. Even decades-old cases can be revisited if DNA evidence suggests that a person was wrongfully convicted. Until the mid-1980s, DNA profiling of individuals didn't exist. Prior to that discovery, investigators weren't able to identify individuals by comparing samples of their DNA. Now that DNA evidence is used in criminal cases, it can be used to compare samples collected from the original investigation to exonerate people -- some who've spent 29 years behind bars for a wrongful conviction.

3. Proving rape. DNA evidence is particularly useful in solving rape cases. Since DNA strands contain patterns that repeat many times and those repetitions vary between individuals, no two people have the same exact DNA, except for identical twins. The uniqueness of DNA samples helped connect two violent rapes in Philadelphia.

These are just a few of the ways DNA can impact a criminal case. To learn more about how DNA can impact a criminal case, talk to a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia.

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