DNA evidence has become synonymous with guilt over the last couple of decades, but an extreme mix-up in Texas DNA-testing facilities and new methods in testing forensic evidence have many now doubtful of past convictions. According to a recent report, the state is performing a “DNA Mixture Review Process” and has already flagged over 1,400 convictions as questionable.
The problem surfaced in May 2015 when the FBI noticed discrepancies with DNA statistics from across the country, and by that autumn, many Travis County defendants received letters notifying them that their conviction may be affected by these discrepancies. A forensic science commission audited a DNA lab run by the Austin Police Department (APD) and found that the staff was under-trained and that they were using outdated protocols for DNA mixtures.
The report actually says that the methods they were using were, “neither scientifically valid nor supported by the forensic DNA community.” They only used one threshold for testing when they were supposed to be using a dual threshold, making their findings suspect as they failed to meet the standards required for forensic evidence.
This situation is very complicated, but what it means is that there could be many people in prison and on death row that were found guilty based on an inaccurate analysis of DNA evidence, reaching as far back as the 1980s.
If you think that your case or your loved one’s conviction may have been affected by these shortcomings in our legal system, you should seek out an Austin criminal defense lawyer from Tillman Braniff, PLLC to help. Call us at 512-236-0505 or reach us via our website to schedule a free and confidential legal evaluation.