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  1. #1
    shadowraiths's Avatar
    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    DNA: What does the evidence say?

    Let's talk about the DNA found at the scene.

    You can find some DNA exhibits in post #7 of Documents: Steven Avery *No Discussion*

    In light of SA's exoneration, as well as his conviction, I would like to explore some issues raised by the paper, Strengths, Limitations, and Controversies of DNA Evidence, as it may (or not) apply to SA's case.

    With this in mind, I'll post my thoughts in the next post.
    Last edited by shadowraiths; 01-14-2016 at 12:52 AM. Reason: modified title



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  2. #2
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    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    One thing that I believe all of the scientific community agrees upon, is that DNA, as an exclusionary tool, is highly valid and reliable.

    In fact, I recall an extensive conversation with a friend back when DNA was just beginning to make inroads into the criminal justice system. One thing he stated, that stuck with me, is "DNA can prove you didn't do the crime, it however, cannot prove you did it.."

    I was initially surprised when he said that. But upon further consideration, his statement makes a great deal of sense. Why?

    DNA results are presented within the context of probabilities.

    For example, if you notice, the analyst uses two important terms/phrases, when describing her conclusions: "eliminated" or "consistent with."

    Sidenote: Brendan Dassey appears to have been eliminated as the source, in several tests, and did not appear to be considered in other tests.

    The phrase, "consistent with" is extremely important. And while she draws her conclusions with "a reasonable degree of scientific certainty," she does not define reasonable.

    Moreover, I do question that they only took samples from the Averys and Dasseys. Why? At the very least, and imho, they should have taken samples from males within Ms. Halbach's circle. After all, they did find the presence of DNA from an unidentified male.

    And finally, she notes:

    "This match should be considered an investigative lead. Confirmation of this DNA match requires the submission of a biological standard from this individual to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory-Madison."

    And yet, who did the DA call? The same woman who made the above statement, and managed to contaminate the minuscule DNA found on the bullet, while making an exception to ignore standard protocol (i.e., rule the results "inconclusive.")

    Anyway, that is my read, at this point. Or, otherwise put, I remain unconvinced the DNA results against SA is as damning as the prosecution would have us believe.
    Last edited by shadowraiths; 01-13-2016 at 08:37 PM.



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  3. #3
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    Another user sent me this article recently after discussions of DNA came up on this forum. She is researching DNA for a book she is writing.

    http://stories.frontline.org/dna


    Lots of information in that article has me kind of amazed, as I think that most of us likely believe that it's 99.9% reliable.

    We have no ideas about things like amplification and what exactly that is, and how that can effect the integrity of results.

    Here's an excerpt from that article that might peak your interest in giving that link a click if you haven't already :

    Last fall, commission member Barry Scheck voiced his concern about the method at a hearing of the DNA subcommittee. Before Scheck made his name disputing DNA as O.J. Simpson’s lawyer, he founded the Innocence Project, which has used DNA to exonerate hundreds of wrongfully convicted people. He said he opposes the use of cutting-edge DNA forensics in court because he doesn't think they have been sufficiently proven. Scheck had been demanding the Office of Chief Medical Examiner make public its internal validation studies on LCN, which it has refused to do. At one point, after an otherwise subdued hearing, he yelled to some of the subcommittee members: “YOU ARE ALL ****ING LYING!”

    Worth a read... trust me!

  4. #4
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    One of the biggest issues for me in the Steven Avery case is the DNA testimony given by Sherry Culhane. Something is massively wrong with this woman's professionalism and work ethic - she testified in his first trial that PB's hair was found on SA's shirt. After such a glaring ERROR - why would the STATE call on her testimony or entrust her with (evidence on) such an important case again??? Worse yet, her latest testimony unearths her consistently shoddy work. And perhaps those working in law can shed light to why the Defence failed to remind the jury and public that she made a mistake previously....because reminding the public could have potentially raised doubts about the blood DNA - and enhance the framing defence.

  5. #5
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    I find it very interesting, (in a hipocritical kinda way) that the same officials insisting DNA evidence proves SA is guilty of murdering Teresa, are the very same ones who will not admit that SA did not rape Penny Bernstein even though DNA evidence proves he did not.

  6. #6
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    Honestly, the TINY amounts of TH's DNA on things is super sketch, IMO, as well as the tiny little piece of SA's DNA on the hood latch. It's suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper convenient that the one thing that proved they were so very wrong the first time is what they hang their hats on to prove his guilt the second go-round.

    To me, if Teresa had been in that trailer, there would be more DNA. ESPECIALLY if those cuffs were ever around her ankles. The fact that there are so many teeny little miniscule spots of DNA makes me raise an eyebrow, because they're in the most convenient places: bullet, valet key, hood latch... but none in "obvious" places, like the location/s where she was supposedly murdered. JMO
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tawny View Post
    Honestly, the TINY amounts of TH's DNA on things is super sketch, IMO, as well as the tiny little piece of SA's DNA on the hood latch. It's suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper convenient that the one thing that proved they were so very wrong the first time is what they hang their hats on to prove his guilt the second go-round.

    To me, if Teresa had been in that trailer, there would be more DNA. ESPECIALLY if those cuffs were ever around her ankles. The fact that there are so many teeny little miniscule spots of DNA makes me raise an eyebrow, because they're in the most convenient places: bullet, valet key, hood latch... but none in "obvious" places, like the location/s where she was supposedly murdered. JMO
    That's the problem if you let coerced testimony in, you might not have DNA evidence to match the testimony. In the case of trailer rape story, there's zero DNA evidence to support that. But because you want to be able to use Brendan's story, you gotta commit to trying to sell that happened.

    We should not what type of tests were used for those questionable pieces of evidence like the key, latch bullet and compare to the tests for the blood which likely didn't need to be amplified.

    They maybe get an idea of how questionable they are in comparison, and if they'd be deemed cutting edge tests. If Barry Scheck sees reason to question cutting edge tests, shouldn't we ?

  8. #8
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    In Sherry Culhanes report of laboratory findings , Exhibit 311.


    Page 2 Item D1- One red handled toothbrush reportedly belonging to Teresa Halbach.

    In the results section just below that, it list that DNA was isolated from the toothbrush ..
    However later she states no DNA profile was obtained from this item. So TH's dna profile was not obtained from her toothbrush.

  9. #9
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    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5oy2pjeoxv...ments.PDF?dl=0
    Exhibit 347 Culanes Deviation request for bullet fragments

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Safeguard View Post
    I find it very interesting, (in a hipocritical kinda way) that the same officials insisting DNA evidence proves SA is guilty of murdering Teresa, are the very same ones who will not admit that SA did not rape Penny Bernstein even though DNA evidence proves he did not.
    what did that guy Kusche say in the Civil Tesitmony.
    "Has DNA evidence been fabricated before? YES"

    His own question and answer


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticJynx View Post
    what did that guy Kusche say in the Civil Tesitmony.
    "Has DNA evidence been fabricated before? YES"

    His own question and answer
    Touché! My thoughts exactly!!!

    Guess he had no clue the same person who he thought might have "fabricated" those results was going to be the same chick testing DNA in the Avery murder case. Or maybe he knew Culhane is less than reliable when it comes to DNA testing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soulmagent View Post
    In Sherry Culhanes report of laboratory findings , Exhibit 311.


    Page 2 Item D1- One red handled toothbrush reportedly belonging to Teresa Halbach.

    In the results section just below that, it list that DNA was isolated from the toothbrush ..
    However later she states no DNA profile was obtained from this item. So TH's dna profile was not obtained from her toothbrush.
    Item D1: one red handled toothbrush reportedly belonging to
    Teresa Halbach.


    No DNA profile was obtained from item D1.


    It's so odd that they couldn't get her DNA profile from her toothbrush and that the toothbrush had NO DNA profile.


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cymbaline View Post
    Item D1: one red handled toothbrush reportedly belonging to
    Teresa Halbach.


    No DNA profile was obtained from item D1.


    It's so odd that they couldn't get her DNA profile from her toothbrush and that the toothbrush had NO DNA profile.

    apparently it isn't easy LOL

    IIRC eventually her DNA was obtained from pap smears.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by missy1974 View Post
    apparently it isn't easy LOL

    IIRC eventually her DNA was obtained from pap smears.

    I've read the reports multiple times while watching Netflix.

    One thing that stuck out was that they took her hair brush from her apartment but no mention of her toothbrush.

    It's on page 4 of Wiegerts November 3rd Report
    Last edited by Cymbaline; 01-27-2016 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Edited to add source.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by missy1974 View Post
    apparently it isn't easy LOL

    IIRC eventually her DNA was obtained from pap smears.
    Yes, that seems to be correct. From day 10 of the jury trial (2/23/07):
    Exhibit 325: Slide holder containing pap smear from Teresa Halbach.

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