The Role of DNA as Scientific Evidence

Giuseppe Di Cesare, Lucia Parlato

Abstract


Criminal trial has recently been focusing on scientific evidence, in particular DNA evidence ensures reliable results. Peculiarities of this evidence cause a discussion in the search for a balance between individual guarantees and efficiency of criminal justice. This is regulated by Italian Law 85/2009, following the Treaty of Prüm. There are four main critical aspects related to this legislation. 1) Coercive nature of the DNA sample, that in certain conditions is taken without consent. 2) Individuals whose DNA samples are taken from: suspect, victim, but also third parties or even a larger number of people like in the case of mass screening. 3) Privacy: entire families are exposed to unexpected discoveries and to their diffusion by media. 4) Reopening of the trial after definitive judgment: DNA can be used as new evidence to justify reopening of the case after conviction, but this can never happen in Italy after an acquittal.

 

Key words: DNA - Criminal - Proceedings


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