Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ohio Supreme Court Affirms Keeping DNA Forever

Suspect in murder trial had DNA on file from old case

Acquitted of Rape, DNA profile remained in database

By: Joseph L. Giacalone

The Ohio Supreme Court dealt a blow to appeals all over the state and maybe even the nation. A suspect, Dajuan Emerson was acquitted of the rape of a seven (7) year old in 2005, however, his DNA profile remained in the State's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) of known offenders.

In 2007, Emerson's blood was found at a brutal crime scene where a man was viciously stabbed repeatedly. When the DNA recovered at the scene was a "Hit" (match in the system), the police arrested Emerson and charged him with the murder of Marnie Macon.

Emerson's attorney appealed his murder conviction, however, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld his conviction, citing that the DNA profile is different from the a recovered sample and that the original sample that was on file was obtained lawfully. However, the Ohio Supreme Court may have identified a loophole in the system and that was that the suspect did not ask to have the profile removed from the database. 

The case highlights the demand on law enforcement to identify and collect DNA and other forensic evidence in order to obtain a conviction. But, I hope investigators don't rely too much on it and forget how to do "old fashioned police work." 

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