In many cases throughout history, an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted of a sex crime based on what are considered to be groundbreaking scientific methods. In reality, these scientific procedures were unreliable and misleading in nature. According to a Virginia-based study by the Urban Institute, in the pre-DNA testing era, nearly 12 percent of the sexual assault cases that were reviewed during their study were cases that resulted in a wrongful conviction.
In this two-part article, a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa will discuss several reasons why an innocent person can be convicted of a serious crime like sexual assault. In this part, we will discuss the relatively brief history of forensic science in criminal investigations and how the use of forensic science has actually resulted in several overturned convictions. Remember, if you have been accused of a sex crime, you require the services of an experienced rape defense attorney in Tampa.
The Rise of Forensic Science Investigations
Originally developed as a method of paternity testing, forensic science procedures like deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) profiling were introduced to the court system in the 1980s. When performed accurately and with appropriate scientific support, DNA profiling can help confirm or deny that an individual’s DNA characteristics match the evidence collected at a crime scene. With valid analysis, forensic science methods can be an extremely valuable and effective tool for investigations; however, when misapplied, forensic science investigations can result in an innocent party’s conviction.
According to the Innocence Project, the first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Currently, there are over 350 exonerees to date thanks largely to scientific advancements and significant improvements in testing procedures. Although its application in investigations has gained more and more traction over the years, in many cases, the technology can prove to be error-prone or misleading when presented in a trial.
An experienced sexual defense attorney in Tampa can challenge the admissibility of the testing procedure and the techniques law enforcement utilized to conduct their investigation and collect evidence. In many cases, the police violate several laws during this process which we will discuss in more detail in the second part of this article.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.