DNA as evidence has been a somewhat controversial subject over the years. Between the many times it has been used to reveal that convicted criminals were actually innocent, to arguments that it was never conclusive enough to convict someone in the first place, DNA gets lots of press. And now, with the surge toward personal DNA research for historical and medical reasons, that dialogue is getting more complex. However one thing everyone could agree on was that certain trace DNA mixes were too complex to interpret.
What is a trace of mixed DNA?
Imagine this… You walk into a clothing store. You rummage around in the clearance items, pick a couple of shirts you like, pay for them at the register, and head home. Shopping errands done. But 15 minutes after you leave the store a man in a mask holds up the store at gunpoint. Yep, armed robbery. He touches the counter in the same place you did while leaning over to confront the clerk. He makes it out before the cops come, but pretty soon someone identifies him from his clothing on the closed circuit video police share on the local news, and now there’s a suspect. But the DNA traces left behind that place him at the scene are mixed in with yours. Nothing is conclusive.
DNA from one person is always easier to analyze.
DNA analysis is always simpler when DNA profiles came from just one person. As soon as traces of DNA contain two or more profiles it can get complicated to separate the two. Forensic scientists could get a DNA profile, but the traditional methods of analysis provided inconclusive results. Which left police with major challenges when collecting possible DNA samples from “contaminated” sites where multiple people have left traces, often resulting in people who were not guilty being wrongfully convicted. And that’s where STRmix comes in.
STRmix is changing the way DNA is analyzed
STRmix is a sophisticated new forensic software developed by scientists from the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), working in partnership with Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA). The software is used to resolve mixed DNA profiles that were previously thought to be too complex to interpret. But STRmix is revolutionizing the way muddled DNA traces left at crime scenes are broken down, and Michigan is one of the U.S. states that has adopted this new method of analysis.
STRmix is changing court cases in the U.S.
DNA evidence interpreted with STRmix has been successfully used in many court cases around the US, and thus far, there’ve been more than 24 successful admissibility hearings for STRmix around the country, including a homicide in Lansing, Ingham County. The Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division has said that at this point the MSP lab is using STRmix analysis more often in cases with DNA mixtures.
Why would this be a good thing for people accused of crimes in Michigan?
It may sound like this new tool allows cops to zero in on a suspect, which might not sound like a good thing from a criminal defense standpoint. But that’s missing the most important and valuable contribution STRmix makes to criminal trials. By allowing more accurate analysis of mixed DNA traces, STRmix excludes innocent people who may otherwise have been wrongly convicted, and allows others who are currently behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit a chance to prove their innocence!
Protecting people against wrongful convictions is what we do.
Here at The Kronzek Firm we’ve helped countless people from all over Michigan’s lower peninsula prove their innocence and defend themselves against being wrongfully convicted. Going to prison for something you had no part in is a serious reality for many Michigan residents, and the best way to be proved innocent is to call our experienced and aggressive defense attorneys at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). We’ve been doing this work for a quarter of a century and have been called Michigan’s best criminal defense lawyers.