What Do You Think? – The Prosecution’s Case Against DNA

Juan Rivera at the Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, Ill.

DNA evidence and analysis has helped to exonerate many who confessed to violent crimes; however, in some cases, the prosecution has begun suggesting alternative theories as to where DNA (not matching the person convicted) came from. This New York Times article covers the issue in detail, and can offer some insight into both sides of the argument. It focuses on the case of Juan Rivera, who was convicted in 1992 for raping and murdering Holly Staker, an 11 year old girl. Although Rivera confessed after intensive interrogation, DNA found on the victim did not match Rivera’s. He now claims he was simply broken down by the questioning.

What do you think about this issue? Is it right to dismiss DNA evidence that does not match the person convicted as a coincidence or accidental exposure, or is this alternative resulting in keeping innocent people in jail?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!



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  1. I believe in DNA evidence In 1992 they did not have the technology they have now and I believe a lot of innocent people were convicted especially by police “intense questioning”. This should be gone over and check for errors and innocent people released.

  2. DNA evidence should always be used.It is one of best thing that has happened to the criminal justice system.
    Should the DNA be dismissed if it does not match the convicted person? Absolutely not.
    If a person is charged with rape and the DNA matches his/her he is going to be found guilty so if someone who has already been found guilty of such a crime in the past is now found to not have the correct DNA he should be set free.

  3. It is important to check the collection and source of DNA in all cases. As a comparison, someone can rob a convenience store and not leave fingerptints, but if you were there just minutes before and touched the table and the police processed the prints, should you be convicted? It is also possible if a woman has multiple partners, or even one other outside of her marriage, that she does not want to disclose but is attacked by another guy who is convicted, but his DNA is not there but unknown DNA is present, should he be released on that alone?

    Food for thought…and discussion 🙂