Cold cases have long mystified law enforcement officers and have always captivated members of the public who want to know just how there are so many violent crimes that go unsolved and ultimately unpunished. There are hundreds upon thousands of cases across the country have been left unfinished across the country, but law enforcement officials are hopeful that progress will soon be made on these cases thanks to innovative DNA technology that has recently been used in criminal investigations.
Family genealogy, DNA and what it means for criminal cases
For several decades, Internet users have been using genealogy databases to discover their past and learn more about their family history. Some of these unique genealogical websites have allowed people to reconnect with long-lost relatives and to trace their family tree back several centuries. In recent years, it has become more popular to submit DNA samples to online genealogical databases in order to improve the accuracy of these documents and to help people interact with distant relatives.
These DNA databases have not only been used in genealogy, but also in helping those who were adopted as children find their birth parents. Many of the experts in the industry who were running these websites felt that this same technology that helped families reconnect with one another could also be used to solve many of the violent crime cases that went cold across the country.
Law enforcement officials resisted this technology for years, but an article in the New York Times notes that within the last 12 months, this technology has been applied successfully in many criminal investigations. In fact, it was this same technology that was used to make an arrest in the notorious case of the Golden State Killer, which had gone cold about 40 years ago.
The legalities of using this new DNA technique
Many are claiming that this DNA technology is going to revolutionize the industry, and that crime solving will never be the same. However, law enforcement officials at the local, state and federal level still have to maneuver the legalities of the technique. The fact of the matter is, these law enforcement officials are utilizing DNA profiles from online databases from which the user’s submitted their data for genealogical purposes. Some are now questioning whether it’s ethical to use this same data to possibly solve cold cases from decades gone by.
It is anticipated that there may be some legal action or recourse from using this technology, as the websites that were once hailing themselves as genealogical tools are now starting to promote themselves as crime-solving aids. There’s a lot of buzz about this technology, but it’s expected that additional rules and regulations will swiftly follow as it becomes more widely used and accepted in the United States.
Facing a criminal charge? Hire an experienced attorney
Technological advances are going to continue to change the playing field for criminal investigations in the months and years ahead. If you are facing criminal charges, t’s more important than ever for you to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling criminal defense cases. To discuss the specifics of your situation and for more information on the best way to proceed in your case, contact us to set up a consultation appointment.