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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2006
0 pages

This 15-module training program on the use of forensic DNA in judicial proceedings was designed to describe DNA technologies and legal issues to attorneys and judges.


Training program objectives are: (1) explain the terminology associated with forensic DNA technologies; (2) identify the technical issues associated with DNA analysis; (3) explain how DNA reports are interpreted; (4) assist victims, defendants, jurors, and others in understanding DNA analysis; and (5) identify and resolve the legal issues that arise in criminal cases involving DNA analysis. Following the introduction in module 1, the remaining 14 modules present information regarding: (1) the biology of DNA; (2) practical issues unique to DNA evidence; (3) the processes and capabilities of forensic DNA laboratories; (4) quality assurance in DNA testing; (5) understanding a forensic DNA lab report; (6) statistics and population genetics; (7) mitochondrial DNA & other technologies; (8) forensic DNA databases; (9) collection of DNA evidence; (10) pretrial DNA evidence issues; (11) victim issues; (12) trial presentation; (13) postconviction DNA cases; and (14) emerging trends. Learning objectives are presented for each module. For example, the learning objectives for module three on the practical issues specific to DNA evidence include the ability to recognize crime scene issues relative to DNA evidence and to identify initial considerations in laboratory protocol. Particular topics include the key legal issues surrounding the collection of DNA evidence and discovery issues related to DNA evidence. Defense issues and special considerations for the prosecutor are also presented. Glossary, references, user guide, credits

Date Published: February 1, 2006