Criminal Justice Technology

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Technology within the Criminal Justice System has evolved through the years. DNA is one type of technology that has revolutionized the criminal justice system. Law enforcement uses this method to aide in the capture and conviction of criminals; at times have led to exonerate criminals who were wrongly convicted. There is still a lot that can be learned about DNA and all the possibilities that DNA may be able to prove. Fingerprints are not the only technology that has vastly improved within the criminal justice system. In 1984, Dr. Alec Jefferys, an English geneticist, discovered what is known as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) DNA fingerprinting or DNA Profiling (“DNA’s Detective Story”, 2004). Dr. Jefferys found sequences of regions of DNA repeated over and over again and the number of sections repeated could differ from person to person (DNA Basic History). With these DNA sequence variations, the ability to perform identity tests on humans were developed (DNA Basic History). DNA is a genetic material that can be found in a person’s semen, skin cells, tissue, organs, muscle, brain cells, bone, teeth, hair, saliva, mucus, perspiration, fingernails, urine, feces, etc. (DNA Basic Biology). DNA such as sweat, skin, blood, tissue can be found on handles of weapons, hats, eyeglasses, facial tissue, dirty laundry and other various items (DNA Basic Indentifying DNA). Saliva can be found on items such as toothpicks, cigarette butts, postage stamps. Envelope flaps, bottle, cans or glass, pillows, and various other items (DNA Basic Indentifying DNA). Cytosine, Guanine, Thymine, and Adenine are the four building blocks for which DNA is comprised (DNA Basic Indentifying DNA) In 1985, Great Britain authorities were seeking to deport a teenager from Ghana who came to Great Britain to join his mother (“DNA’s Detective Story”, 2004). Mr. Jefferys was able to provide the court with DNA evidence showing that half of the teenager’s bands matched his mother and the other half his father, thereby saving the teenager from being deported (“DNA’s Detective Story”, 2004). The first documented criminal case using DNA led to the 1987 conviction of Colin Pitchfork in England for the rape and murder of two people (“DNA’s Detective Story”, 2004). Tommy Lee Andrews of Orlando is the first person in the U.S. to be convicted in a 1987 rape case, using DNA profiling (Inman, Rudin, 2002 July 02). The DNA profiling proved Andrews was guilty of rape by a 10 billion-to-1 probability (Willing, N.D.) “In April 2001, a “cold hit” was made to the perpetrator’s convicted offender DNA profile in the database” (DNA Initiative “Night Stalker”). It was a break Goldsboro Police Department, Goldsboro North Carolina had been waiting for (DNA Initiative “Night Stalker”) The DNA hit was on Linwood Forte who was brought in after he was convicted of shooting into an occupied dwelling (DNA Initiative “Night Stalker”). After Mr. Forte a search warrant had been obtained and served for a DNA swap, it matched with a cold case in July 1990 (DNA Initiative “Night Stalker”). In July 1990, three elderly women were raped and stabbed to death (DNA Initiative “Night Stalker”) One of the elderly women’s husband had been stabbed to death as well (DNA Initiative “Night Stalker”) This shows that DNA evidence that is properly collected and preserved can prove to be a an excellent tool in helping anyone in the Criminal Justice Field to solve cold case files.

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