Publication Year



Criminal justice, DNA, forensics, death penalty, government


Criminal Law | Genetics and Genomics | Law | Medical Sciences | Political Science


The criminal justice system in America is made up of a complex array of proceedings, sentences and punishments. The source of much debate, this system had endured criticism in many different areas of concern including jury selection and reliability, reliance on political and cultural pressure, reformation of the juvenile justice system, and retribution versus rehabilitation. Adding to the list of concerns is a topic area that has come to interest in roughly the past ten years. Dioxyribonucleic acid, otherwise referred to as DNA, has seized the world by storm with the possibilities it has brought to medical, scientific, and forensic studies. In terms of the judicial system, this biological discovery has the opportunity to demonstrate undeniable innocence among defendants in our court system. While the Supreme Court has ruled that defendants cannot be subjected to testing without their consent, it has allowed for DNA testing to be used as a way of questioning guilt if the defendant opts to utilize it. What this provides to the justice system is simple--an easier, more efficient method to examining evidence in the justice system while providing for reliability. The use of this testing in criminal trials is available to all whose case may be determined on the basis of such biological evidence. The charge or possible sentencing of the accused is not taken into account when permitting such testing to those on trial.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science