Fingerprints vs DNA Is One Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

(Aronson, 2007)

The problems and future of DNA Testing

The scientific soundness of the DNA test has not been doubted at all. Courts have increasingly relied on the outcomes of DNA tests. The common man is at a loss to understand the complexities of the method, and as a result in jury trials it is not taken as standard proof but approached with hesitancy. Jurors are ignorant of science and the 'principles of modern genetics' and can get quite confused by all the jargon and confusing tactics of lawyers who are more interested in their cases rather than scientific truth. ("DNA Fingerprinting and Forensics," 2006) Thus the very process that can throw light on the proceedings and produce unfaultable evidence gets mired in sticky debates. The actual concern about the DNA test is not a confused jury but the process of collecting the data and analyzing it. There is no safeguard or guarantee to rule out a false match and insufficient identification data. Unlike fingerprints which do not require complex collection procedures and interpretation techniques, DNA testing cannot be said to be totally infallible. ("DNA Fingerprinting and Forensics," 2006)

The constitution of the United States, guarantees that no person will be convicted except under the condition that there is proof beyond all reasonable doubt about the culpability of the accused. Therefore the very DNA evidence will have to be seen in the light of absolute certainty. However in civil suits like the fixing of paternity, the evidence is not required to be exact but preponderance in favor of the producing party will suffice. DNA finger printing is the only method that is reliable and perfect in civil suits of this kind where fingerprinting will be of no help. ("DNA Fingerprinting and Forensics," 2006) the inherent problems associated with the DNA fingerprinting are more than just the reliability factor. Courts have begun taking notice of DNA matches and have accorded the same status for it as fingerprinting. The greater problem is the time consumed in the profiling of the DNA as compared to the fingerprint technique especially in a spot where the evidence need be taken from objects and the scene of occurrence. DNA profiling lacks the speed of fingerprint analysis because of the difficulty of matching profiles of offenders to the samples. One important consideration is the mounting crime and backlog of cases that require examination. There is a shortage of qualified examiners and therefore work overflow has slowed and regarded the process of developing the method into better functional applications. (Lazer, 2004)

Fingerprint experts are common part of the criminal investigation squad and also there are forensic laboratories that have records of fingerprints which can be profiled and matched within seconds. The technical expertise for matching the fingerprints is available and there need not be delay in time in further action where immediate apprehension of persons are required based on the match. As stated earlier, the dearth of experts have caused the system to go slow and it takes more time to analyze and match the data which in critical cases can frustrate the very investigation. Secondly the persons who collect the required samples need not be the same persons trained in the collection of samples for DNA tests. While fingerprinting is common and can be done by most technicians on the spot, DNA samples require more trained hands. Either the police or forensic officers have to be trained in the collection of or since it takes time, more importantly the preservation of the samples for a longer period of time. The crime scene material stored in labs but when the investigating and adjudication is complete the stored data and objects became unreliable for further use. Because DNA testing takes time and the long gap makes the evidence shaky and not by itself complete. (Lazer, 2004)

The legislation in some states recently requires that all biological evidence be stored carefully indefinitely. To overcome the voluminous demand, field kits for DNA testing is proposed. It is possible for such kits to be treated which will help extracting, storing and data analysis and on the scene assessment of the available information. The profiling of DNA is itself evolving and in future the collective action of experts and the use of novel methods like STR typing and SNP assays would speed up the analysis and sharpen its accuracy. The collection of DNA from the people and codifying it could have privacy issues. The citizens must weigh the cost of losing privacy and the DNA print being available to the authorities against the safety it promises in deterring potential criminals from their ventures because of sure possibility of detection. (Lazer, 2004)

Legal views of DNA

It is true that the world over finger prints is immutable evidence of identity of an individual and there is no substitute for that and there is no questions raised over the authenticity of the prints. The legal fraternity however views the DNA evidence with slight apprehension. DNA evidence is accepted in courts, but the general view of the courts is to rely on other evidence wherever available, even to the extent of ignoring the DNA evidence. A very strange case is mentioned here to show the preference of the bench to circumstantial evidence more than the reliance of DNA at Texas in the criminal court of appeals an appeal was filed by the accused person - "NO. AP-75,027" and the case is CHARLES DEAN HOOD, Appellant v. The STATE of TEXAS." ("In the court of criminal appeals of Texas- NO. AP-75,027 Charles Dean Hood, Appellant vs.The State of Texas. Delivered: March 2, 2005," 2008)

This is with regard to an order on DNA testing by the lower district court. The opinion of the court was delivered by the honorable Keasler, Judge. The Appellant Charles Dean Hood, a convict for capita murder was sentenced by the lower court to death. The appellant that is Charles Dean Hood filed the motion requiring a forensic test for DNA. The argument was that the trial judge has erred in many ways and the DNA test would have helped prove his innocence. The appeal court refuses the appeal on many grounds, and in our study of the DNA issue it is illustrative of the fact that where other evidence id available courts do not regard the DNA matches as absolute. Unlike fingerprints which form the primary evidence in the trail and the courts would not overlook it, in this case which illustrates the stand of the court, we find that an appeal by a convicted person who stands to lose his life stands turned down for reasons which were set out by the court thus: "Williamson called the police and told them that he believed that his girlfriend had been abducted. After the police arrived at the victims' house, they found both Williamson and Wallace dead with gunshot wounds to their heads. [Hood]'s fingerprints were found on the "girlfriend's" note, on garbage bags that had covered her dead body, and on documents that had been taken from his boss' safe. [Hood] was also later found to be in possession of several items of Williamson's property." ("In the court of criminal appeals of Texas- NO. AP-75,027 Charles Dean Hood, Appellant vs.The State of Texas. Delivered: March 2, 2005," 2008)

We have to notice here that the finger prints found were taken to be evidence. Hood required DNA testing of items which he claimed would establish his innocence which was denied. In this case the court reject ed the appeals on the ground that "Even if DNA tests revealed the blood of another individual at the crime scene - even Andrew Yourston - that evidence would at most establish that Hood acted with someone else in committing the crime. Hood's bloody fingerprints were found on the door to the room where Wallace's body was found and on the trash bags in which her body was wrapped. His fingerprints were on the note purportedly left by Wallace. These are not the fingerprints of someone who just happened to be living at the house; these are fingerprints demonstrating involvement in the crime." ("In the court of criminal appeals of Texas- NO. AP-75,027 Charles Dean Hood, Appellant vs.The State of Texas. Delivered: March 2, 2005," 2008) This goes to show how much value is attached to the fingerprint evidence over all other forms.


We can therefore conclude that the finger print method is the safest and tried method. DNA fingerprinting is evolving and has a lot of areas which are not adequately covered and is still unavailable to the lay man and jury for easy understanding. More over it has not been proved to be absolutely unique as fingerprinting. It is yet to gain absolute acceptance in courts and the difficulty that is created by the time and resources required for analysis still…[continue]


  • DNA Profiling the Positive Impact

    Callier, John Huss, and Eric T. Juengst make excellent points about the inherent intrusion into privacy and the lack of logical nexus between the act and its subjects, to wit, randomly screening the criminal background of every college faculty. By contrast, the Akron case should accentuate the close relationship between the objective of having convicted criminals become part of the DNA database for use when attempting solve subsequent crimes

  • 9 11 DNA Identification in Mass

    According to Harlan (2004), "Sample retention is problematic not only because of these individuals' innocence, but also because of the resulting availability of sensitive genetic information and the lack of legislative and jurisprudential protections guarding release of the information" (p. 179). This point is also made by Beecher-Monas and Garcia-Rill (2006), who caution that modern DNA identification techniques can be used to extrapolate far more than just an individual's

  • Privacy Concerns Regarding DNA

    DNA Fingerprinting The subject of DNA fingerprinting has become a prominent issue on several fronts. The applicable paradigms involved include law enforcement, privacy concerns and immigration, just to name a few. A few questions and concerns about DNA will be included in this repot including what precisely DNA fingerprinting is, how it is done, the step-by-step methods of fingerprinting, how DNA is compared on an electrophoresis (EPG), what precisely EPG is,

  • Michigan vs Tyler the Supreme Court Decided

    Michigan vs. Tyler, the Supreme Court decided that "fire fighters, and/or police and arson investigators, may seize arson evidence at a fire without warrant or consent, on the basis of exigent circumstances and/or plain view" This may only occur during the extinguishing operations or immediately after, otherwise a warrant or the owner's consent is necessary. This came as a response to an accusation of "conspiracy to burn real property," where

  • 22 Federal and State Law Enforcements Role to Enforce Computer Based...

    Law Enforcement and Computer-Based Crime Before beginning any discussion regarding the consequences of employee monitoring, it is crucial to first develop a working knowledge of precisely what this blanket term actually entails. Simply put, employee monitoring is deliberate surveillance by an employer which is used to track various behaviors, such as a worker's visitation rate to certain websites, as well as to transcribe and archive written correspondence in the form of

  • Criminal Procedure

    Crime Control/Procedures The term "play in the joints" refers to flexibility within the law that allows for a certain amount of discretion to occur within the prosecution and judge. Even though there is discretion within the manner in which the Judge may interpret sentencing, procedure and rulings, there are still formal rules of law that provide for a basis for upholding the Constitution. In a given situation, for example, the Judge

  • Crime Scene Analysis Introduction There

    T. Apparantely in good health, need to investigate insurance and other issues, get medical report. Married, one-4-year-old son Appears happily married with young child, no indication of turmoil in marriage; check. Colleagues say victim was "very organized," and kept to himself, did not make friends nor enemies Mr. T. appears to be inoffensive, not prone to situations that would engender violence. Profession: Attorney; normal office hours 8am-5pm; known to work late on cases as necessary Q:

Cite This Paper:

"Fingerprints Vs DNA Is One" (2008, February 19) Retrieved October 20, 2016, from

"Fingerprints Vs DNA Is One" 19 February 2008. Web.20 October. 2016. <>

"Fingerprints Vs DNA Is One", 19 February 2008, Accessed.20 October. 2016,

Leave a Comment

Register now or post as guest, members login to their existing accounts to post comment.

Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved