Scientists Reveal DNA Evidence Can Be Faked - And It's Not Hard to Do: the implications upon Florida criminal defense
Pretty soon, looks like we're all going to know the name Dan Frumkin. Who's he?
Dan Frumkin is the author of an article in the respected journal Forensic Science International: Genetics where he writes that DNA evidence can be created in a lab - TOTALLY FABRICATED - and he warns that the real possibility of DNA evidence being faked is not being sufficiently recognized in today's world, where everyone has been considering DNA evidence as being rock-solid, dependable proof of guilt or innocence.
Together with his team of forensic scientists, working in laboratories located in Tel Aviv, Israel, Dan Frumkin has backed up his warnings with concrete demonstrations of what can be done: not only can someone's blood and saliva samples be twisted into a replica of someone else's (think anonymous donor samples altered into that of pending criminal defendant), but even more terrifying, a mere review of a DNA file on a computerized database gives these scientists sufficient information to create DNA evidence that replicates that file - without ever touching any human blood or saliva at all.
They went further. They also demonstrated how this bogus DNA can easily be planted at crime scenes -- either on human tissue or on inanimate, touched surfaces. They actually did all this --- and then Frumkin wrote this paper to warn the world that DNA evidence isn't nearly as reliable as universally assumed.
How hard is this to do?
Not hard at all. According to Dan Frumnkin, any Average Joe with some basic science know-how under his or her belt and access to some simple lab equipment can cook up "practically unlimited amounts" of phony DNA.
Now, let's add the phrase "prosecutorial misconduct" to the mix.
Long ago, the United States Supreme Court was confronted with overzealous prosecutors monkeying with cases to get a conviction, and warned us all that prosecutors should "prosecute with eagerness and vigor" but may not use "improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction." Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78 (1935).
That warning didn't stop things. There are countless cases of prosecutorial misconduct on file in this country today -- fingerprints mysteriously placed at crime scenes, guns or weapons dropped by bodies, documents gone missing from a file, the list of examples is endless. In fact, studies on the impact of prosecutorial misconduct reveal that Florida topped the list of states with prosecutorial misconduct: in Florida, 44% of cases appealled with a claim of prosecutorial misconduct were overturned. That's almost HALF.
The potential implications of this Israeli study -- and warning -- by Dan Frumkin upon criminal defense in the State of Florida is mindboggling to consider. What will we do to insure that there hasn't been a frame-up? Will the Innocence Project arguments be tainted now?
What's the impact upon people like David Eugene Johnston, setting on Florida's Death Row while the Florida Supreme Court awaits DNA test results from a North Carolina lab? Johnston was scheduled to be executed in May. DNA testing may save his life - but will the State use Frumkin to muddy the waters?