Fisher Law Office

Rape kits and DNA evidence in sexual assault cases

In our last post, we spoke a bit about legislation recently introduced in California which aims to address the problem of untested rape kits. As we noted last time, evidence stored in rape kits can be valuable for both prosecutors and defense attorneys for different reasons, particularly when there is DNA evidence.

For prosecutors, DNA evidence can help confirm or identify that they have the right person, but there are limitations on both the usefulness of DNA evidence and its reliability. For one thing, DNA is not necessarily going to help if the identity of the attacker is unknown and there is no match in the databases kept by law enforcement agencies. In such cases, other tactics have to be used to identify the offender. 

Another limitation on DNA evidence is that, while it is relatively stable, there are certain factors that can affect its integrity. These include time factors pertaining to how long DNA evidence can remain on a accuser’s body before its integrity begins to break down. There are also chemical factors to consider, such as whether the accuser washed with an soaps or detergents after the alleged assault. Certain external and internal factors may also affect DNA evidence. These can include temperature, humidity, and the presence of other bodily fluids on or in the body.

Navigating issues surrounding DNA evidence is not always an easy matter. Forensic evidence tends to be influential on juries, but it is critical for defendants to effectively highlight the limitations on the reliability of such evidence, as well as the prejudicial effect questionable DNA evidence may have if it is admitted at trial. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney ensures that these issues are effectively addressed so as to give a defendant the best possible chance of minimizing the consequences of sexual assault charges. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How can we help you?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Fisher Law Office

1322 Morro Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

Phone: 805-706-0205
Fax: 805-542-0464
Map & Directions

Rape kits and DNA evidence in sexual assault cases | Fisher Law Office