Joyful Heart in the News

DNA doesn’t lie

May 30th, 2011
Boston Herald
Linda Fairstein

The fact that there are estimated to be almost a quarter of a million untested rape evidence collection kits collecting dust in police department warehouses across this country remains a national embarrassment. The movement to eliminate this backlog and process the evidence for DNA testing to identify violent offenders is gaining supporters, although opposed by naysayers who are ignorant of the facts of what sexual assault survivors achieve in the criminal justice system when they are backed by the powerfully effective tool of a DNA identification.

From 1976 until 2002, I was the prosecutor in charge of the country’s pioneering Sex Crimes Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and among the first lawyers to be introduced to the revolutionary science of genetic fingerprinting in 1986, three years before it was accepted by our courts. When the first data banks became operational in 1994, I watched in amazement as computers began to match offenders to profiles developed from evidence gathered in meticulous medical exams from the crime scene itself: the victim’s body.

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