The rampant use of forensic DNA analysis in the criminal justice system has attracted considerable public attention and caused crucial debates. Such discussions characteristically center on either its use for identifying criminal offenders or legal issues concerning the appropriate extent of DNA proof gathering. The state of Virginia premiered in the establishment of a state DNA Database. In a period of ten years, all the other fifty-two states had walked that path. Presently, Virginia is in the forefront in the policy review of old samples of DNA in respect of past criminal cases (“Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice” 2011 pp.133-148). With this development in the public domain of the United States, the concern is whether or not to embrace the same exercise in all the states forming the nation. The role of the court and the implication of that policy on the general criminal justice system are of utmost significance.
Embracing the policy in all the states of the United States depends on the readiness of each state to implement it, with a satisfaction of reliability and scope of the DNA analysis. The court system has a significant interest in the policy since it requires evidence to determine cases and administer justice. The court has vested interest in any policy regarding the criminal justice system. Therefore, it ought to have unlimited participation in the process of policy creation. It would have to express satisfaction in the reliability and scope of DNA analysis to act as evidence in the trial of criminal offenders, to exonerate or convict them through confirmation or non-confirmation, identity. The adoption of such a policy would alter significantly the entire criminal justice system in both positive and negative ways. The former may come about if and only if the scope and reliability meet the acceptable standards, and the law enforcers, as well as DNA specialists, discharge their duties with unquestionable integrity (“The VLW Blog” 2013). Going contrary to ethical and professional code of conduct in the law enforcement and the criminal justice systems and allowing any aspect of sub-standard DNA analysis would render the policy ineffective and unsuitable.
“Evidence Retention Policies in U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies: Implications for Unsolved Cases and Postconviction DNA Testing.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 2011 Vol. 27: 133-148
“Old case DNA testing clears another criminal defendant.” The VLW Blog. 2013.