States work to pass laws that restrict DNA testing in criminal investigations

Recently, Montana investigators solved what is believed to be the oldest known cold case in the United States after the murder of two teens in 1956.

However, as more states seek to pass laws prohibiting certain genealogical tests from law enforcement agencies, the DNA testing detectives used are currently limited.

On January 3, 1956, the bodies of 18-year-old Dwayne Bogle and 16-year-old Patika Ritzke were found face down, miles away from each other, with bullet wounds on their heads. Detectives at the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office worked hard on the case and found more than 35 suspects.

Then, in 2019, Detective Sergeant. John Caddner decides to try something.

He sent some of the preserved evidence, vaginal slides taken during Karitzke’s autopsy, to the laboratory, which returned the sample with some of the DNA found.

“”[The lab] The slide could be wiped to identify the sperm sample, which eventually led to the DNA sample, which was sent to the genealogy database to identify three known test takers. ” .. Caddon.

This process, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, is called the genetic genealogy and is called Sgt. Caddner explained.

Evidence from the case will be sent to the lab for testing. Once a DNA sample is identified, researchers take it and put it in a genealogy database similar to 23andMe or Ancestry.com. This database contains millions of samples from people trying to trace the history of their families. When matches (in this case matches) come back, investigators treat them as leads and get to work.

“”[Genealogy testing] It was the only way we were able to resolve this cold case, “said Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter.

For people like Sheriff Slaughter, testing avoids drawbacks such as the ability to cross-reference investigation data with known criminals in their records. But for Erin Murphy, a professor of civil liberties at New York University, making this information available is just a slippery slope.

“As you know, I’m really concerned about genomic information in the criminal justice system,” she said. “It could hurt you in the future. Someone could anonymize you in a covert operation abroad, [or] May be used to exclude you from military service. “

To prevent that from happening, both Maryland and Montana have passed legislation restricting the use of systematic tests in criminal investigations.

In Maryland, judges need to approve practices that can only be used for serious crimes such as murder and sexual abuse. Similar legislation exists in Montana, where investigators must first obtain a search warrant approved by the judge.

Similar legislation is being discussed in Utah and Washington, both of which proposed bills last year.

A recent study by Israeli scientists found that a genealogy database of about 1.3 million people could identify about 60% of Europeans in the United States, and how much agreement could be obtained from a single DNA sample. If so, the people who sign are shown. Because of these websites, you may not know that their information is being used in criminal investigations.

“This kind of legislation is good for business gains,” Murphy said. “We are a crime-solving genomic genealogist, so if you want to put yourself there, I think there is a way to do that, but we are a genomic genealogist who believes in your genomic privacy. There is also a way to say that. “

In this case, the country’s oldest known cold case, the suspect’s family, was helpful, and Sgt. Caddner says he is grateful that the DNA testing has led to their closure.

But Murphy asks the question, “How much does it cost?”

“From a constitutional point of view, I think this is a good decision, but’from my ambition to solve these crimes and drive people away,'” said Sheriff Slaughter. ..

States work to pass laws that restrict DNA testing in criminal investigations Source link States work to pass laws that restrict DNA testing in criminal investigations

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