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Tag Archives: dna evidence

Criminal Practice – DNA Evidence – Prosecutor’s Fallacy – No Prejudice – Rape & Sex Offense (access required)

State v. Ragland Even though a prosecution witness’s testimony about DNA evidence included the prosecutor’s fallacy, given other evidence – testimony from the same witness, physical evidence, and the victim’s testimony – we cannot say that the jury would probably have reached a different verdict in the absence of the prosecutor’s fallacy evidence.

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Two criminal issues, two unexplained rulings from NC Supreme Court (access required)

DNA

The North Carolina Supreme Court punted on a chance to examine the reliability of a new scientific advance in the toolbox of crime scene investigators. A Gaston County jury found Mark Bradley Carver guilty of the 2008 murder of UNC Charlotte student Irina Yarmolenko based largely on the presence of Carver’s “touch DNA” on Yarmolenko’s car. Testing for touch DNA, which is left when skin cells touch an object, is a relatively new practice.

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Criminal Practice – Evidence – Expert Witnesses – DNA Evidence – Prosecutor’s Comments (access required)

State v. Harris The population geneticists -- who made the determinations about the probability of an unrelated, randomly chosen person being the one who contributed to the DNA mixture taken from the victim’s rape kit – were unavailable to testify. Nonetheless, SBI Agent Mackenzie Dehaan gave her opinion that the statistical information upon which she relied in developing her opinion regarding the significance of the DNA match was of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field of DNA analysis, such being admissible under N.C. R. Evid. 703. The trial court did not err in admitting the statistical information.

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NC man finds life hard after cleared of charges (access required)

MEBANE (AP) — Ronald Cotton gently lifts his right arm with his left and rests it in his lap, scowling as he remembers the limb is useless to him. His right leg is no good now. Cotton’s face droops as he talks, yet he tells one story after another, every 10th word or so incomprehensible. They are the burdens left by a stroke in July. “I was living a pretty good life. Nothing amazing. Then bam,” said Cotton, 49. “I never saw it coming.”

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