What is the duty to preserve information in today’s society? In order for humanity to evolve, change and flourish in the future, society needs to preserve its information from the past. In the criminal justice field, preservation of evidence has special significance. DNA evidence in particular has become a helpful aid for innocent defendants who have been improperly imprisoned. Over the past twenty years, the number of exonerations of imprisoned criminal defendants has increased dramatically. With the advancement of technology, old, previously untestable or improperly tested DNA evidence will need to be retested. However, most states do not have proper repositories for storage of such evidence or even statutes which require the storage and retesting of DNA samples. This note discusses the importance of retention of DNA and critiques current DNA retention practices on both the state and federal level. It proposes the creation of central evidence storage facilities in each state as well as uniform DNA retention statutes. It then addresses criticism to these proposed measures, such as Fourth Amendment concerns and administrative and funding issues. Despite these concerns, the preservation of DNA is paramount and will provide for much-needed transparency in the forensic sciences and criminal justice system.
DNA Storage Banks: The Importance of Preserving DNA Evidence to Allow for Transparency and the Preservation of Justice,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol91/iss3/13