Decades ago, law enforcement agencies did not have DNA evidence to use in the investigation or the prosecution of crimes. While DNA evidence has been helpful in linking some criminals to their acts, the scientific system is not flawless. DNA evidence, most often used in prosecuting violent crimes, can be faulty and should not be used as a fool-proof system to target or convict defendants. A recent case sheds light on the possibility of error when a man accused of sexual assaults in three states has claimed that his twin actually committed the crime.
DNA evidence is a complicated area of forensics that can lead to mistakes and the potential for wrongful conviction. OurBirmingham sex crimes defense attorneys are experienced with providing informed and aggressive defense to our clients. We understand the complications of the criminal justice system and can apply our experience and strategy to fight for desired results. We are also abreast of developments in forensics to best protect our clients through trial.
In a recent case, an army officer was linked to three sexual assaults on children by his DNA. He has pleaded not guilty to allegations of sexual assault in Colorado Springs. Police detectives and prosecutors say that multiple offenses took place during the time of his residence between 2009 and 2011. The officers allege that certain crimes “halted” after his departure to Afghanistan. The defendant is also facing assault allegations in Alabama and is being charged with child enticement and sexual abuse of a child under 12. Texas officials are waiting for the District Attorney to approve an arrest warrant with similar charges.
In an October 22nd court filing, the defendant and his attorneys assert that the crimes were actually committed by his identical twin brother. According to the documents, the Colorado investigators erroneously tied the defendant to crimes that were committed by his twin brother. Though the evidence is complicated, forensic analysts usually state that “DNA matches are definitive in the absence of an identical twin.” This raises the possibility that defendants with an identical twin can feasibly raise a defense when their prosecution involves the use of DNA.
The defense team is currently requesting that they be permitted to suggest in court that the twin brother was actually responsible for the assaults. While the defendant has significant hurdles, the case raises the question about the reliability of DNA evidence. If even forensic analysts have conceded that DNA evidence is questionable, should prosecutors be able to present this evidence against the defendant?
Records have confirmed that the defendant does have a twin brother and both of the twins have lived in states where the alleged crimes took place. The twin brother has not been linked to any crimes and has not yet been charged. If convicted, the officer could face life in prison.
Cases involving assault or violent crimes are complicated and require a thorough review by an independent investigator. In this case, the defendant has raised the possibility that his DNA evidence is inconclusive and should be challenged in court. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to consult with an experienced advocate who can raise all defenses in your favor to reduce charges and penalties in your case.