Recent postings on the FSSL blog (March 27, May 25) about the appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito suggested that the court’s decision not to order more DNA tests on the kitchen knife was less a manifestation of bad judicial mathematics than a judgment about the possible costs and benefits of additional low template (LT-DNA) testing as perceived by court-appointed experts. As a publication of the Royal Statistical Society noted last year, “Many questions at the extremities of LTDNA technology remain unanswered, and scientific disputes between experts are sometimes ventilated in litigation.” (Puch-Solis et al. 2012, at 85 � 60.20, discussing English Court of Appeal cases in �� 60.21 & 60. 22).
In the United States, appellate courts have yet to address the admission of LT-DNA results. The latest opinion I have seen comes from a trial court in Bronx County, New York. Remarks on People v. Garcia, 39 Misc.3d 482, 963 N.Y.S.2d 517 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2013), are on the FSSL blog, May 30.
Puch-Solis, Roberto, Paul Roberts, Susan Pope, and Colin Aitken 2012. Assessing the Probative Value of DNA Evidence: Guidance for Judges, Lawyers, Forensic Scientists and Expert Witnesses. London: Royal Statistical Society.