Inside the Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA (Anglais) Relié – 6 octobre 2015
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
A specialized work that will appeal to attorneys, investigators, crime writers, and others on the frontiers of forensic DNA laws and technologies.” Kirkus Reviews
This brilliant, accessible, and extremely important book by one of our foremost scholars has a timely message: Without disputing its transformative impact, Murphy argues that DNA testing is not a panacea for the criminal justice system or forensic scientists. Murphy provides a balanced, thoughtful, and essential roadmap to a more democratic future. A must-read.” Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, cofounders, the Innocence Project
Présentation de l'éditeur
We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of stop and spit.”
DNA testing is rightly seen as a transformative technological breakthrough, but we should be wary of placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of the same broken criminal justice system that has produced mass incarceration, privileged government interests over personal privacy, and all too often enforced the law in a biased or unjust manner. Inside the Cell exposes the truth about forensic DNA, and shows us what it will take to harness the power of genetic identification in service of accuracy and fairness.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
I agree with Dr. Tracey's calculation that in the Arizona Crime Lab Database, there are 2 billion possible comparisons of the DNA profiles between two individuals. And he raises a legitimate question regarding whether it would be unusual to find some matches between profiles. But how many should one expect. Prof. Murphy states that 122 such matches were eventually found. She also states that the probability of finding a random match of two profiles from non-Hispanic whites was estimated at 1 in 754 million. The random match probability between two African Americans was estimated at 1 in 561 billion and between two Southwest Hispanics at 1 in 113 trillion. Given these three estimates of random probability matches, a then perhaps one could expect to find within that database, at most, maybe 3 or 4 matches....WELL SHORT OF 122. One explanation is that the occurrence of particular DNA markers is not as random as the people calculating the probabilities assume. That is, there may be significant correlation in the occurrence of certain markers, and if this correlation is not properly represented in the calculation of probabilities of a match, the calculation gives a misleading result. I cannot agree with Dr. Tracey that the discussion of the Arizona database is silly. Quite the opposite, I find it flags a serious problem and one that has the potential to result in many, many injustices.
I do find the book uneven. For example, Prof. Murphy takes great pains to explain the methodology of DNA typing at a level that a non-technical person can understand. In my view she fails at that effort. But the basic thrust of the book is to argue that the powerfulness of DNA typing is often oversold. She is arguing that the risk of convicting the innocent is much higher than the general public has been led to believe. She cites errors committed in laboratories that have led to their being shut down. She cites failures to follow protocols when adding DNA profiles to databases. She cites the ambiguities that often occur when trying to tease out DNA profiles from samples that contain a mixture of DNA. She cites the persistence of DNA in the environment that can cause confusion as to when the DNA found in a sample was actually left behind. To illustrate this point, she discusses a murder case in which a DNA profile was recovered from a crime scene sample was matched to someone who had been dead for several years. The dead individual was later determined to have been involved in the construction of the building. Then there is the problem of match probabilities that I tried to illustrate above, coupled with the use of software to calculate the probabilities, where the algortihm used to do the calculation is proprietary and is therefore unavailable to mathematicians/statisticians who might want to verify as to whether the software is making correct calculations.
Despite all these issues, Prof. Murphy does not argue that we should throw out DNA evidence. Rather, she argues that we need to have better standards on its interpretation, and we need to reconsider how to calculate the probability that the DNA profile found from a crime scene sample would match that off the defendant on trial. Sometimes Prof. Murphy is inelegant in her discussion. But in my view her central argument has great merit and needs further exploration.
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