UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY – AFRICA
SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROGRAM
DNA IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS
(Muyinza Lule Kenneth 650346)
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE COURSE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS (CJS 3306) IN SUMMER 2018 SEMESTER
July 8, 2018.
Cover page ………………………………………………………….pg1
Body (uses of DNA)……………………………………………………….pg4
List of references ………………………………………………………..pg11
It’s so fascinating how the issues of DNA has so much become the centre of police investigations in modern era .There are two important terms in this topic; DNA and criminal investigations. Encyclopedia Britannica defines DNA, as abbreviation of deoxyribonucleic acid, organic chemical of complex molecular structure that is found in all prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and in many viruses. DNA codes genetic information for the transmission of inherited traits. Carole McCartney; The DNA Expansion Program and Criminal Investigation, The British Journal of Criminology, Volume 46, Issue 2, 1 March 2006, Pages 175–192 discusses that DNA evidence is a powerful investigative tool, able to incriminate as well as exculpate. Yet, increasingly common portrayals of DNA as being able to solve crimes almost instantaneously, beyond any doubt, even from ‘beyond the grave’, may overstate the degree to which DNA currently assists in criminal investigations. Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts, used to identify, locate and prove the guilt of an accused criminal. A complete criminal investigation can include searching, interviews, interrogations, evidence collection and preservation and various methods of investigation. The DNA identification methods were established as part of the law enforcement and criminal justice system in the mid 1980s and the database of the law enforcement profiles were established in 1990s thou the first databases were limited to convicted rapists and murderers . The success of these databases in solving crimes led to the massive introduction of DNA use all around the world, police and other law agencies also took it put. but before all this happened, so many innocent people were put behind bars, so many criminals went scotch free due to lack of sufficient evidence in courts, criminal cases would take a great deal of time, so many things were really slow .locally in my school united states international university –Africa, under the program of criminal justice studies the school is constructing a crime house where students will get the chance to an experience of an actual crime scene. So we the students are being exposed to what is supposed to done at the scene of crime. This is all investigative work for example how to collect all the various forms of evidence, how to properly store it for further investigations and examinations and also preserved to be used as evidence in court. There are also instruments that are being installed in the crime house, on how to collect figure prints which is under the topic of DNA. all this is to show that actually the issue of investigation is very critical in the criminal justice system, because it’s the genesis of the flow of procedure, if it is not done well then the justice system will have failed and probably in fact unfortunately innocent people will be put behind bars and the real criminals left on the loose. The use of DNA evidence in criminal investigations has grown in recent years. DNA testing has helped law enforcement identify criminals and solve difficult crimes. On the other hand, DNA evidence has helped prove that many convicted people are actually innocent. Of course the DNA usage was due to the introduction of foreign science which is basically application of science to the law as defined by Elizabeth (Betsy) Boedeker Senior Research Scientist/Coordinator of BioBench CRO. The research paper will discuss the uses of the use of DNA in criminal investigations while relating it to how it were before the use of DNA , the paper will also discuss some cases where DNA helped in solving the case i.e. the innocent persons were set free and how also DNA helped at pointing out the real criminals .
Before we actually start to tackle this issue it is important to note that Kenya has invested billions of Kenya shillings in the construction of a world class forensic laboratory in the country, primarily to help with the issue of solving crime the right way making sure that the right criminals are put behind bars. The innocent set free. now there are so many benefits that will come from this project besides just studying crime , all in all , all of them will benefit the criminal justice system and as a country as a whole . This also expounds on how important DNA has become in the criminal investigations and how police operates. It first made its way into the courts in 1986, when police in England asked molecular biologist Alec Jeffrey’s, who had begun investigating the use of DNA for forensics, to use DNA to verify the confession of a 17 year-old boy in two rape-murders in the English Midlands. As the research paper is going to discuss the uses of DNA in criminal investigations, since a person’s DNA is located throughout his entire body, any materials left from his body at a crime scene will contain his DNA. Some examples of bodily materials that contain DNA evidence include; teeth , blood saliva ,hair ,mucus ,semen and so many other fluids from the body. DNA evidence can be found almost anywhere at a crime scene. Only a small amount of human cells are sufficient to provide DNA evidence that will help solve a crime. Much of the evidence may be found on a crime victim. Some examples of places where DNA evidence may be found include; cigarettes, clothes, stamps, marks, cups tissue among others. DNA has been divided into various stems such as DNA fingerprinting, profiling extraction, sequencing and many more others are going to shape this research paper. The research paper will discuss the use of each which will give a wide understanding of the use of DNA in criminal investigations.
DNA finger printing. this has become such an important practice world over , for example , it’s so much used foe bio matrixes and other security codes , it’s taken(prints ) when you are getting a driving license , a national identification card , passport and all other forms of identification and documents , this has really helped countries in monitoring people and reducing issues of identity theft because figure prints can’t be forged and the beauty of it , is that each and every individual has a different set of prints so it’s close to 100% of pure identification of someone . DNA fingerprinting is a laboratory technique used to establish a link between biological evidence and a suspect in a criminal investigation. A DNA sample taken from a crime scene is compared with a DNA sample from a suspect. DNA was first used to aid a criminal investigation by Professor Jeffrey’s in 1986. This investigation used DNA fingerprinting techniques to link semen stain samples, collected from two rapes/murders that had occurred three years apart in 1983 and1986, in a small village in Leicestershire, UK if the two DNAprofiles are a match, and then the evidence came from that suspect. This does not only apply in the UK, just as I have discussed earlier in the paper how my university is working on a crime house and how Kenya is investigation in the lab as well, that doesn’t really mean that the country hasn’t been using DNA .yes it has been and we also have cases of how DNA solved cases. Some examples will be explained in a few paragraphs as well go on with the paper. Forensic scientists have used fingerprints in criminal investigations as a means of identification for centuries. Fingerprint identification is one of the most important criminal investigation tools due to two features: their persistence and their uniqueness. A person’s fingerprints do not change over time. Visible prints are also called patent prints and are left in some medium, like blood, that reveals them to the naked eye. They can be when blood, dirt, ink or grease on the finger come into contact with a smooth surface and leave a friction ridge impression that is visible without development. DNA is generally used to solve crimes in one of two ways. In cases where a suspect is identified, a sample of that person’s DNA can be compared to evidence from the crime scene. The results of this comparison may help establish whether the suspect committed the crime. Since it was invented in 1984, DNA fingerprinting most often has been used in court cases and legal matters. It can:
Physically connect a piece of evidence to a person or rule out someone as a suspect.
Show that your parents, siblings, and other relatives may be.
Identify a dead body that’s too old or damaged to be recognizable.
DNA fingerprinting is extremely accurate. Most countries now keep DNA records on file in much the same way police keep copies of actual fingerprints. To get your DNA fingerprint, you would give a sample of cells from your body. This can come from a swab inside your mouth, from your skin, the roots of your hair, or your saliva, sweat, or other body fluids. Blood is usually the easiest way. Lab workers treat the sample with chemicals to separate the DNA, which is then dissolved in water.
DNA profiling. Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary. (2012) defines DNA profiling as; The identification and documentation of the structure of certain regions of a given DNA molecule, used to determine the source of a DNA sample, to determine a child’s paternity, to diagnose genetic disorders, or to incriminate or exonerate suspects of a crime. Modern-day DNA profiling, called STR analysis, is a very sensitive technique which only needs a few skin cells, a hair root or a tiny amount of blood or saliva. DNA profiling is especially useful for solving crimes but can also be used to confirm if people are related to each other, such as for paternity testing. This so much related to the figure print as well and of course they have the same uses in identifying the structure of the DNA. Issues pertaining the profiling also largely help in criminal investigations and also identifying people as well for example close relatives, brothers, children, issues of such nature. In profiling we are able to identify some identifiable traits that match with the others so they closely related the traits are, that means that those individuals are related. So many cases of people fighting for children , for trying to prove if the child is there biological child this is what is being used . Same as it relates to police it is done to trace people and also record keeping for future reference. It’s so much admissible in court as evidence incase its required
The law of commission (the use of DNA in criminal investigations) 27 July 2016 Donna Buckingham discusses that; the forensic analysis of DNA is a powerful tool in solving crime. However, the use of DNA in criminal investigations also raises important legal and ethical issues. In New Zealand the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 (‘the Act’) gives the Police powers to collect and use DNA in investigating crime. The Act also regulates two DNA databanks. These databanks store DNA information from individuals who have been charged with, or convicted of, certain offences. This information can then be compared to DNA collected from the scenes of unsolved crimes. Matches between the two provide the Police with investigative leads.
However, as much as legal and ethical issues apply, so many law officers will admit to the argument that many times you have to break procedure and law to get hold of the real criminals. the funny bit of this all is that if a police officer doesn’t follow the law or procedure and he or she hits the bulls eye ,no one questions then either the authorities or the public because it’s a job well done . But incase thing go south and an officer hits the dead end he or she will be questioned and will face the consequences for not following law and procedure , so its really a tricky phenomenon .
According to Carole (2005) DNA evidence is a powerful investigative tool, able to incriminate as well as exculpate. Yet, increasingly common portrayals of DNA as being able to solve crimes almost instantaneously, beyond any doubt, even from ‘beyond the grave’, may overstate the degree to which DNA currently assists in criminal investigations. Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts, used to identify, locate and prove the guilt of an accused criminal. A complete criminal investigation can include searching, interviews, interrogations, evidence collection and preservation and various methods of investigation.
DNA with all its components has created new opportunities for people to get employment. It’s a large field of study which has been broken down into so many sub studies for example when dealing with dead bodies, when dealing with live people, how to find common traits, how to extract it from various forms of bodies and how to extract in all different ways and they are all complex processes So many people are being employed in the laboratory labs, many are being recruited to the police to study the crime scenes and collect each and every detail. due to the use of DNA a lot of studies are being made to make the whole process better and more reliable so better way to go around the whole issue of DNA are being worked on an improved every one and then this has also encouraged people in the police and other sectors of public and private service to go ahead with further studies on forensic studies something which is equipping the various countries with learned personals in that area of work. This whole aspect is strengthening the police work making it more reliable , efficient and effective in nature , in the long run ,or short run depending on the circumstances the public/ citizens will notice these noticeable traits in the police and they will be attracted to working will police . Studies show that a police organization that works with the community is a very effective one because the community is the direct eye onto itself. When they work hand in hand with the police it eases their work. This is called community policing something that the whole world is starting to embrace. In the scan avian countries a number of prisons have been closed because they don’t have prisoners and it’s largely due to community policing
DNA has resolved so many cases in court and brought about fair and just judgments in court. The following are some other cases in Kenya law where DNA played a very important role and how the learned judges responded as well.
RMK versus AKG ;AG PETITION NO 18 of 2013
The Applicant an adult wanted confirmation that the Respondent was the father. He relied on Articles 27 (5) against discrimination; 28, which protect dignity; 45, which protect family, and 35, which entitles Petitioner to information. In this case just as we have discussed, the court wanted to get to the truth if really the person claiming the child is the actual father. And because of the use of DNA they were able to profile both the DNA of the child and that of the child and court held its judgment.
The Court held;
”Apart from the Petitioner’s own bland assertions, there is nothing to connect the Petitioner and the 1st Respondent that would discharge the burden of the Court to permit an intrusion of the 1st Respondent’s rights.”
SWM versus GMK 2012 eKLR
A similar case to determine paternity
The Court held;
”Ordering the Respondent to provide DNA for whatever reason is an intrusion of his right to bodily security and integrity and also the right to privacy which rights are protected under the Bill of Rights. The petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating to the Court the right she seeks to assert or vindicate and which the Court would consider overriding the Respondent’s rights.”
These are two examples out of the very many cases that the use of DNA helped in solving cases and how it was used during investigations and getting more evidence for the court. These two are also clear examples of how actually the use of DNA has brought broken families back together something that every human being treasures. According to Kenya law there so various cases that have been convicted due to the help of DNA. I strongly believe that with the oversight of IPOA which is the independent policing oversight authority whose main aim is to guard public interest in policing in Kenya; those cases will definitely increase in number. This body is the second over seeing body of police to be formed in Africa. That is a clear indication of Kenya on the level of progress the criminal justice system of Kenya could achieve in the near future .the police being the primary custodian of all cases that that appear before court. When the start of the chain is well organized and structured professionally to do its work then the rest of the chain will conform to the standards that the primary chain has set which is the police in this case.
What has been explained above in the write up is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more involved in the whole concept of DNA. As we have discussed you can know link the socials to the sciences and vice versa. In line with that, studies show that individuals who have studied socials are very much relevant in the field and patrolling and the sciences of course dominate the labs. Irrespective of where you are, you are very much important to the whole system. from the first officer who gets to the crime scene to the end result in the laboratory .when the first person at the crime scene doesn’t conduct as its supposed to be done then the whole process will be tempered with and that is why Wilson and colleagues suggest that DNA testing can be a valuable tool for police investigators not only for establishing the guilt of identified suspects but also for identifying suspects whose DNA is already in law enforcement databases. The review found the strongest evidence of using DNA testing for property crimes and also found evidence of the value of DNA in more serious crimes, although these studies tended to be weaker methodologically. Personally I agree that the use of DNA has really had a significant positive effect on the criminal investigations on police work all around the world. I strongly suggest that governments of nations should provide free DNA extraction when it comes to criminal cases to the citizens of the nation, because of course not all people are able to carry out a DNA because it’s really costly, and to also emphasize the fact that police work is very much fundamental in the justice system and the world as a whole , the primary goal is to protect and serve , the issue of investigation is very much primary for a successful case in court , if the investigations are done well , following al the procedures to the dot , they cases will be successful in court , the right criminals will be put behind bars .
Elizabeth (Betsy) Boedeker Senior Research Scientist/Coordinator of BioBench CRO.
The law of commission (the use of DNA in criminal investigations) 27 July 2016 Donna Buckingham
DNA profiling. (n.d.) Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved July 4 2018
The findings from a Campbell systematic review by Wilson and colleagues
Exploring the Use of DNA Evidence in Homicide Investigations: Implications for Detective Work and Case Clearance David A. Schroeder and Michael D. White Police Quarterly Vol 12, Issue 3, pp. 319 – 342 First Published June 25, 2009
Carole McCartney; the DNA Expansion Program me and Criminal Investigation, The British Journal of Criminology, Volume 46, Issue 2, 1 March 2006, Pages 175–192
The DNA Expansion Program and Criminal Investigation, the British Journal of Criminology, Volume 46, Issue 2, 1 March 2006, Pages 175–192