Maryland prosecutors generally need evidence before they pursue convictions for violent crimes like assault or homicide. If the case proceeds to trial, the prosecutor will reveal the collected evidence to a jury for review.
According to a group of studies, DNA evidence can substantially influence jury decisions. As such, challenging this evidence may be an effective defense for those facing conviction for a violent crime.
How can defendants challenge DNA?
As mentioned, DNA carries significant weight with most people and can lead to an unfavorable outcome. At the same time, it is among the most vulnerable forms of evidence and is subject to contamination that may skew test results unfairly.
With skilled legal guidance, you may be able to dispute DNA evidence successfully on one of the following grounds.
- Chain of custody breach. Shows that the material was mishandled as it passed from hand to hand (police, technicians, etc.) and likely contaminated
- Improper testing procedures. Demonstrating that the testing lab made mistakes or lacked sufficient quality control, rendering the sample inadmissible
- DNA interpretation. Presenting an alternative interpretation of the DNA evidence by engaging an expert for independent analysis and testimony
Of course, overcoming biological evidence is just one of many challenges you may face when defending against a violent crime conviction. However, it may be a good place to start when the prosecution’s case rests heavily on DNA.
While advancements in technology, like DNA testing and analysis, do contribute to convictions, they can also open a pathway to a successful defense. The main takeaway is not to assume you have no options when a prosecutor uses supposedly irrefutable science to seek a conviction.