NACDL - ‘If DNA, Then Guilty’: Strategies for Overcoming Juror Assumptions About DNA Evidence In Criminal Tr

‘If DNA, Then Guilty’: Strategies for Overcoming Juror Assumptions About DNA Evidence In Criminal Tr

Jurors who enter a courtroom are familiar with DNA evidence and possess preconceived notions of the role this evidence plays in the criminal justice system. In fact, jurors are likely to think that if there is DNA evidence, then the defendant must be guilty of the crime. Instead of focusing solely on battling the scientific validity of the DNA evidence itself, the defense team should consider challenging the logical, inferential connections between the DNA evidence and a finding of guilt. The authors discuss a 2013 trial to illustrate this strategy.