What can your attorney do to challenge DNA evidence? As we saw in prior posts, the first step is to obtain information possessed by the government. We request over thirty different types of data from forensic labs. We go to look at the lab. Can you imagine a jury’s horror to see photos of half-eaten sandwiches sitting next to the samples? How about lab techs running samples without gloves? When your attorney knows what to look for and takes the time to gather the relevant evidence, challenging DNA evidence becomes possible.
Beyond gathering relevant evidence, your attorney needs to have a basic understanding of how DNA testing works. Our attorneys have reviewed hundreds of pages of information about gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and other methods of scientific analysis. We attend seminars that educate on the cutting edge of forensic science. Most importantly, we understand no attorney can master every field of forensic science, so we have fostered relationships with chemists, lab technicians, lab auditors and other professionals who can educate us on the science and serve as expert witnesses when needed.
Often scientific evidence, forensic analysis and the need for resources to properly challenge the state’s junk science break a defense budget. Our attorneys have lectured on challenging the government’s forensic evidence on a shoe-string budget. The first step of any defense involving scientific evidence is to gather all available resources. Clients, their families and friends must be educated on how critical an expert budget can be to a proper defense. When those resources are exhausted, the vigilant sex offense defense attorney knows how to obtain resources from the trial court. More importantly, the best defense attorneys know the critical case law that allows acquisition of fees without disclosing the defense strategy to the prosecutor. Our office has succeeded in several attempts to obtain funds through lawful, ex parte, hearings. Precluding disclosure of the defense strategy prevents prosecutors from manipulating testimony to avoid the pitfalls the defense intends to set up.
It may seem redundant, but like all witnesses, the forensic “scientists” the government intends to present at trial must be investigated and vetted. We start with our experts, colleagues and friends for information they have gathered in the past. Then we examine the curriculum vitae and verify each assertion on it. Finally, we conduct a thorough background check. Investigations of forensic scientists have revealed falsified credentials, histories of lying in court and fabricated test results.
Ordinary criminal defense attorneys review discovery provided and throw their hands up declaring they went to law school to avoid science. Extraordinary criminal defense attorneys approach scientific evidence differently. At The Law Office of Brian Jones, we refuse to accept the prosecutor’s half-handed attempt at disclosure of information. We demand more. We conduct our own investigation. We investigate the collection of evidence, the procedures under which that evidence will be tested and the execution of those procedures. We investigate the technicians, nurses and doctors. We take all precautions we can to ensure every stone is turned. Not every lawyer knows what stones to turn and not every lawyer is willing to turn over every stone. That type of defense takes work. We will work for you.