Free Markets, Free People


DNA Evidence Can Be Faked

Apparently, according to some scientists, you can engineer a crime scene in such a way as to leave DNA evidence to convict whomever you want:

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

Obviously few if any crime scenes will be engineered, at least in the near future, but I could see a criminal business popping up where such fabricated DNA might be useful.

But fear not – there’s a reason this has been announced now:

Dr. Frumkin is a founder of Nucleix, a company based in Tel Aviv that has developed a test to distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones that it hopes to sell to forensics laboratories.

I’ll be he does.

Heh … the market works – see a need, fill it and the world will beat a pathway to your door. Well maybe not the world, but at least a few odd forensic labs.

~McQ

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21 Responses to DNA Evidence Can Be Faked

  • Very nice…but can this company detect The Clown’s ™ DNA all over the scene of another crime: the rape of the American people and the wholesale destruction of the American economy? Can we look for his fingerprints on the deficit which is ballooning out of control as we speak?

    Then again, the last Dem in control of things left an entire different set of DNA on certain things, if you get my drift.

    A great story, but, with all due respect, leave this for the crime blogs. We for one need to figure out a way to get the Democrats to push this health care boondoggle forward so that it crashes even worse than I predict that it will, and they can get on with losing the confidence of the American people in droves.

    • A great story, but, with all due respect, leave this for the crime blogs.

      Yeah, McQ.  The half-dozen posts you put up daily hammering the Dems and their health care plan just aren’t enough.
      I don’t know how many burners you have left, but Mr. Marsden here believes this should be put on one of the back ones.  Chew gum or walk, you can’t do both.

      Cheers.

      • Heh … and “with all due respect” to both of you, go pound sand – I’ve got more “burners” than you’ll ever know. If you want to control what is written about, start your own blog.

        Hugs and kisses.

  • “the market works – see a need, fill it and the world will beat a pathway to your door. Well maybe not the world, but at least a few odd forensic labs.”

    In this story we see the portion of the market that Corpspeak calls “demand generation”. The question remains whether this company will be the Ronco Veg-o-matic of forensics.

  • I knew OJ was innocent!

  • Obviously few if any crime scenes will be engineered, at least in the near future, but I could see a criminal business popping up where such fabricated DNA might be useful.


    And the “business” behind prosecutors.
    Shouldn’t this be yet another argument for a moratorium, at least temporarily, on capital punishment?

    Once again, why is it that conservatives who despise the government so much, are the same ones advocating that the government has the power to put its citizens to death?
    With all of the evidence out there suggesting the possibility for abuse, and subsequently the likelihood, that innocent citizens have been put to death by our government, it astounds me that some folks want the practice to continue.

    Cheers.

    • “Once again, why is it that conservatives who despise the government so much, are the same ones advocating that the government has the power to put its citizens to death?”
      Because it’s perfectly AOK for me to kill in self-defense and in the defense of others–that means the rent-a-cops cops called police get to do it too, and the after sufficient deliberation for reasonable surety, they (and the government, generically) can do that well after the fact and be just in doing it.
      It’s been true since the multiplicative reverse transcriptase (I believe that’s it) became known about 20 years ago that with a little effort, anyone’s DNA could be found anywhere, at any crime scene.
      Doesn’t mean that it’s dispositive against DNA serving as gold-standard evidence of guilt.
      Possible does not conflate to plausible–I suppose unless you are Pogue.
      Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

      • Possible does not conflate to plausible–I suppose unless you are Pogue.

        Indeed.  But it’s not just “possible.”  It’s highly probable.
        Examples are abound.  Do you really think that of the thousands and thousands of people put to death in this country, none of them were innocent?  That government executed these executions to perfection?

        I must not have the same confidence in government that you do.

        Possible does not conflate to implausible, unless you’re Tom Perkins.

        Cheers.

        • So Pogue, you are claiming it is “Highly probable.” that there are people on death row as a result of faked DNA evidence?  And you think because of that, the death penalty should not be instituted in any case?
          Because that’s what’s you are talking about.  This is an all or nothing question.
          I believe there are more than enough criminals who demonstrate in their lives that they are a waste of skin and should be put to death, that it should be not merely a possible sentence, but in some cases a mandatory one.
          There is no good reason to spare their lives, there is no reason to suspect a government conspiracy to fake evidence.  Conspiracies to fake guilt are best addressed–when they are discovered–by applying to the miscreants the worst penalty their fakery set in store for their victims.
          And after all, you have not merely made a weak argument against the death penalty–you have made a weak argument against the government ever executing any sentence anywhere for any crime–because any of them might be faked, and it is a certainty some of them are faked.
          I almost wish on you that you had to live in the fool’s paradise you speak of; if it could be arranged the only screams would be yours, they would be sweet to hear.
          Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

          • So Pogue, you are claiming it is “Highly probable.” that there are people on death row as a result of faked DNA evidence?


            No.  I’m suggesting that it is highly probable that innocent people not only sit on death row but have actually been executed due to the incompetence of government prosecution.  It does not necessarily have to be due to faked DNA evidence.
            And to McQ’s point in his post, the market will fill a need in the analysis of DNA evidence.  Now there would not be a need to “fill” if the government, as you claim, is infallible in the process of evidence.  After all, the point in the post is that there is ample evidence that DNA evidence can be faked and even used in nefarious ways.  And with a private, free market entity to step in and fill the “need”, thus suggest that there is a “need” to be “filled.”

            In short, the government is incompetent and even poses the tools to improperly apply DNA evidence.

            The next logical step is to assume that since the government is not only incompetent but also poses the tools to improperly apply DNA evidence that there is a “need” for a free market entity to step in and “fill” the “need.”  This also must assume that since there is a “need”, there must have been applications that didn’t meet the standards within the justice system.  Otherwise, there would be no “need” to “fill.”

            Dude, this is free market/libertarian 101.  How do you not get this?

            There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of people put to death in this country since its founding probably deserved it.  So your examples mean little to me.  But since the cost of incarceration most often does not exceed the cost of the entire production of putting someone to death, and even the execution of one innocent person by the state is so repugnant, it makes little economic and moral sense to me.  And government incompetence and abuse is just a nice, creamy icing on the cake.

            I almost wish on you that you had to live in the fool’s paradise you speak of; if it could be arranged the only screams would be yours, they would be sweet to hear.

            Yeah, well… you and McPhillips can get together and have a circle jerk to what it would be like to have me experience physical pain, you’d still lose the argument.

        • Do you really think that of the thousands and thousands of people put to death in this country, none of them were innocent? That government executed these executions to perfection?

          First, it’s about 2,000 since 1950, or about 35 a year. Let’s not exaggerate. Second, of those 2,000 people not one has been proven innocent after execution. Not one.

          So, to answer your question: as far as we know right now, yes, none of them were innocent.

          How many innocent people given some other punishment have died in prison? Is that grounds for invalidating any prison sentence, since we aren’t punishing perfectly?

          • First, it’s about 2,000 since 1950, or about 35 a year. Let’s not exaggerate.

            First, our government did not start executing its citizens since only 1950. Let’s not be ignorant.

            Second, of those 2,000 people not one has been proven innocent after execution. Not one.

            So, to answer your question: as far as we know right now, yes, none of them were innocent.

            You’re sure of that, are you? That of the thousands and thousands of people executed, not one has been innocent. That our government, you know, the same one that wants to run health care, has executed these executions to perfection? You really believe that?
            And despite some cases, some I’ve linked to here, having overwhelming evidence that the government killed the wrong person, you really think that not one person has been wrongly executed?

            How many innocent people given some other punishment have died in prison? Is that grounds for invalidating any prison sentence, since we aren’t punishing perfectly?

            Umm, it’s you and Tom here that are the only ones arguing that our government punishes to perfection. Not me.
            I perfectly accept that our government doesn’t do anything to perfection. But when our government incarcerates someone wrongly, at least that wrong has the possibility to be righted.

            Cheers.

  • Where is that blue dress?

  • A defense lawyer’s dream.

  • A defense lawyer’s dream

    And when it’s found to be one of the 99 out of a hundred that are authentic?
     

  • “No.  I’m suggesting that it is highly probable that innocent people not only sit on death row but have actually been executed due to the incompetence of government prosecution. “
    Pogue, you will have to point out where I disagreed with that statement, because I haven’t.  What I am trying to get you to see is that that is no reason at all to impose a temporary moratorium on executions, as you suggested.
    It is either a reason to eliminate the death penalty altogether, or it is no reason for any moratorium of any sort.  The case of Gilchrist (and the like) is best addressed by stays of execution and generically new trials where he gave suspect testimony, and of prosecuting him and those who sought out his certainly false testimony where such is shown to be the case.
    And incompetence (and criminality), is not merely a fault with government executions, and any prosecution, or in fact any government activity at all–it is a fact of human existence.
    I will neither hold my breath nor hold my fire–or demand society forfeit “firing” on my behalf–to await perfection in humanity.  I do invite you to do so.
    It does not necessarily have to be due to faked DNA evidence.
    Nevermind that’s what the post was about…
    And to McQ’s point in his post, the market will fill a need in the analysis of DNA evidence.  Now there would not be a need to “fill” if the government, as you claim, is infallible in the process of evidence.
    Pogue, where’d I claim government was infallible?  G’head, quote it back to me.
    After all, the point in the post is that there is ample evidence that DNA evidence can be faked and even used in nefarious ways.
    In fact, I pointed out already that’s been true for 20 or more years.
    And with a private, free market entity to step in and fill the “need”, thus suggest that there is a “need” to be “filled.”
    It’s a plausible business model, it remains to be seen if it is successful.
    In short, the government is incompetent and even poses the tools to improperly apply DNA evidence.

    The next logical step is to assume that since the government is not only incompetent but also poses the tools to improperly apply DNA evidence that there is a “need” for a free market entity to step in and “fill” the “need.”  This also must assume that since there is a “need”, there must have been applications that didn’t meet the standards within the justice system.  Otherwise, there would be no “need” to “fill.”

    Dude, this is free market/libertarian 101.  How do you not get this?
    That’s so incoherent I can’t be sure how best to fisk it.  Is that a strategy on your part?  What word did you mean to type instead of poses?  Did you mean possesses?
    As to it’s being “free market/libertarian 101“, you seem not to be making an argument for either free markets, or if fact anything recognizably libertarian in the American sense of the word, you are making an argument in favor of bomb throwing Bakunin-style anarchism.  That is not a market which can stay free, and it is nothing which will long permit the existence of liberty, exactly because criminality an incompetence are human constants, and there are no examples in human history of anarchy leading to better liberty than what a constitutionally limited democratic federal republic produces.
    Yeah, well… you and McPhillips can get together and have a circle jerk to what it would be like to have me experience physical pain, you’d still lose the argument.
    I d’know, you’re the one lapsing into incoherence here. I’m amazed you think the criminality and incompetence which clearly make some executions an injustice is something which is temporary.  It isn’t.
    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
    These are human constants.  I not merely accept humanity for what it is, I endorse it, warts and all.  Doing away with the death penalty altogether is simply not an appropriate response to the inevitability of human failure.
    There are a half dozen or more reforms I’d like to see undertaken by all the states with respect to the death penalty, and at least several federal death penalty statutes which address concerns I don’t think properly fall within the national purview, but by and large a murderer with several such crimes on their record should be expeditiously killed.

  • What I am trying to get you to see is that that is no reason at all to impose a temporary moratorium on executions, as you suggested.
    It is either a reason to eliminate the death penalty altogether, or it is no reason for any moratorium of any sort.

    Well you’re doing a piss-poor job of it. Because no where in your comments do you mention any kind of an either/or.

    “No. I’m suggesting that it is highly probable that innocent people not only sit on death row but have actually been executed due to the incompetence of government prosecution. “
    Pogue, you will have to point out where I disagreed with that statement, because I haven’t.

    So you concur that it is probable that innocent people have been executed?

    I wouldn’t have guessed from these comments from you,

    Because it’s perfectly AOK for me to kill in self-defense and in the defense of others–that means the rent-a-cops cops called police get to do it too, and the after sufficient deliberation for reasonable surety, they (and the government, generically) can do that well after the fact and be just in doing it.

    Possible does not conflate to plausible–I suppose unless you are Pogue.

    So now Tom is saying that you don’t have to be Pogue to conflate possible with plausible.

    It does not necessarily have to be due to faked DNA evidence.
    Nevermind that’s what the post was about…

    You stated that my claim was something that it wasn’t. And yes, nevermind that’s what the post was about.

    As to it’s being “free market/libertarian 101“, you seem not to be making an argument for either free markets, or if fact anything recognizably libertarian in the American sense of the word, you are making an argument in favor of bomb throwing Bakunin-style anarchism.

    Really???
    Suggesting that we should merely incarcerate criminals rather than executing them is “anarchy” to you?
    And McQ first stated how the market works. “Heh … the market works – see a need, fill it and the world will beat a pathway to your door.”

    You’re all over the map here, Tom.

    You know as well as I do, that it is just as cheap if not cheaper to incarcerate criminals for their lifetime as it is to execute them. And since you now admit that it is plausible that our government has killed innocent people, one can only assume that you’re “AOK” with further killing innocent people to satisfy your emotional response to kill criminals because… hey… “we aren’t perfect.”

    And as far as this,

    Yeah, well… you and McPhillips can get together and have a circle jerk to what it would be like to have me experience physical pain, you’d still lose the argument.
    I d’know, you’re the one lapsing into incoherence here.

    Referring to this,

    I almost wish on you that you had to live in the fool’s paradise you speak of; if it could be arranged the only screams would be yours, they would be sweet to hear.

    Since you can’t arrange it, I guess you’ll just have to keep touching yourself while thinking about it.

  • “Well you’re doing a piss-poor job of it. Because no where in your comments do you mention any kind of an either/or.”

    Except I wrote it in the first reply to you and I think in every one since.

    So you concur that it is probable that innocent people have been executed?

    That’s what I just wrote in the line you quoted. Glad you can read. It wasn’t the first time I’d said it either.

    “Because it’s perfectly AOK…Possible does not conflate to plausible–I suppose unless you are Pogue.”

    You were claiming, implicitly, that because the topic of this post was about a newly demonstrated way to fake DNA evidence, that for some reason this should be a reason to have an at least temporarily imposed moratorium on executions. I was pointing this does not follow because it has been possible to fake DNA evidence for 20 years already–just because it was possible to fake DNA evidence does not mean it is plausible it was faked in any of them. Unless you are Pogue. If you are Pogue, you want moratoriums that are at least temporary even if it is not plausible any given DNA evidence is faked.

    “You stated that my claim was something that it wasn’t.”

    You say it right here:

    And the “business” behind prosecutors.
    Shouldn’t this be yet another argument for a moratorium, at least temporarily, on capital punishment?
    Once again, why is it that conservatives who despise the government so much, are the same ones advocating that the government has the power to put its citizens to death?
    With all of the evidence out there suggesting the possibility for abuse, and subsequently the likelihood, that innocent citizens have been put to death by our government, it astounds me that some folks want the practice to continue.

    It astounds me that anyone thinks it is inappropriate to execute murderers like the ones I mentioned because we just might accidentally kill an innocent person. There are certainly reforms about the death penalty I’d like to see, especially with regard to prosecutorial misconduct, but the need for those reforms doesn’t make it wrong to execute the certainly guilty.

    And yes, nevermind that’s what the post was about.

    That’s funny, you claim I’m all over the map, when I was just fisking you where you were.

    “Suggesting that we should merely incarcerate criminals rather than executing them is “anarchy” to you?

    No. You are implying it by claiming imperfection in capital punishment means it should end–when the prosecutions leading to any other sentence aren’t any more perfect. If someone does 40 years time they shouldn’t, you can give them that time back? Why aren’t you freaking out about that as well?

    Claiming that if government can’t do a thing perfectly it shouldn’t do it at all is both applying a standard to government humanity cannot meet, and it implies a claim government should not exist because it is imperfect.

    You know as well as I do, that it is just as cheap if not cheaper to incarcerate criminals for their lifetime as it is to execute them.

    And a part of that is something that should be changed. Investigative and prosecutorial personnel who put their thumb on the scales of justice should metaphorically have that thumb chopped off. If they deliberately introduce false evidence of guilt or withhold exculpatory evidence in a capital trial, then they should face murder or attempted murder charges. Actual errors of fact should always be introduceable for review by an empaneled jury, but no purely procedural boilerplate appeals allowed. It appalls me that actual evidence of innocence is not always heard if it didn’t get into the first trial but abjectly trivial questions of law are elevated in importance above clear innocence.

    Saying it is better that a 100 guilty go free than 1 innocent be jailed is a true thing I earnestly believe. That doesn’t mean that crimes should go without an appropriate punishment–that’s what you are saying–it means the deck should be stacked against the prosecution, juries should be fully informed, all theories of defense should be allowed, the defense should have the same access to the public coffers the prosecution does and also that when the jury delivers a verdict the sentence is carried out with some alacrity.

    If it is later found the jury was lied to or a member of the jury was not an unbiased trier of fact, law, and application–then the crime of lying to the jury/other jurors is the one to then be tried.

    If the best you can do is not perfect, sometimes it still has to be done.

    “Since you can’t arrange it, I guess you’ll just have to keep touching yourself while thinking about it.”

    Keep shouting from the gutter, Pogue. Someday you might make a real argument.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

    • Except I wrote it in the first reply to you and I think in every one since.

      Uh… No you didn’t. And you think in every one since!? What, you don’t remember what you wrote and are too lazy to go back and read?
      No, Tom, that last comment you wrote was the first time you mention any kind of either/or.

      That’s what I just wrote in the line you quoted. Glad you can read. It wasn’t the first time I’d said it either.
      “Because it’s perfectly AOK…Possible does not conflate to plausible–I suppose unless you are Pogue.”

      Horsesh!t. You wrote that it was “AOK” because of some sort of self-defense argument. You made no argument of some kind of acceptable human error. Here, read it again.

      Because it’s perfectly AOK for me to kill in self-defense and in the defense of others–that means the rent-a-cops cops called police get to do it too, and the after sufficient deliberation for reasonable surety, they (and the government, generically) can do that well after the fact and be just in doing it.

      And this,

      “You stated that my claim was something that it wasn’t.”

      You say it right here:

      Are you insane?
      You wrote, “So Pogue, you are claiming it is “Highly probable.” that there are people on death row as a result of faked DNA evidence?”
      No, Tom, read it again for heaven’s sake. No where did I claim that it was highly probable that people sit on death row because of faked DNA. I have never limited my reasoning to just this one issue. That’s why I wrote that it was “yet another reason.”
      You’re not fisking anything. It was your BS assertion. I just corrected you on it. Accept it and move on.

      “Suggesting that we should merely incarcerate criminals rather than executing them is “anarchy” to you?

      No. You are implying it by claiming imperfection in capital punishment means it should end–when the prosecutions leading to any other sentence aren’t any more perfect. If someone does 40 years time they shouldn’t, you can give them that time back? Why aren’t you freaking out about that as well?

      Yo, crazy! Read it again. You wrote, “bomb throwing Bakunin-style anarchism.”
      Also, more crazy… I am not, “claiming that imperfection in capital punishment means it should end–when the prosecutions leading to any other sentence aren’t any more perfect.” Seriously, dude, where do you get this crap? It should end because imperfections in capitol punishments lead to consequences that cannot possibly be corrected. Unlike incarceration.

      If someone does 40 years time they shouldn’t, you can give them that time back? Why aren’t you freaking out about that as well?

      This is where it should be painfully obvious. If someone – perhaps due to imperfections in the system – spends 40 years in prison, but is later proved innocent, that someone can have at least some of life back again. No matter how little. Perhaps long enough to see their grandchildren get married, or something. But if the state kills them, well then, no such luck.
      I accept imperfections in the justice system, just not the ones that are irreversible.

      “Since you can’t arrange it, I guess you’ll just have to keep touching yourself while thinking about it.”

      Keep shouting from the gutter, Pogue. Someday you might make a real argument.

      Yeah, you’re the one telling us how sweet it would be for you to hear me scream, yet I’m the one shouting from the gutter. Whatever.
      Look, I don’t know how much your twisted sadist mind thinks about me, but whatever it is, it’s too much.

  • “Obviously few if any crime scenes will be engineered, at least in the near future, but I could see a criminal business popping up where such fabricated DNA might be useful.”

    “Obviously”? Really?

    Fifteen years ago, right here in l’il ol’ Dryden, New York, a New York State Police officer transferred an innocent woman’s fingerprints to a metal gasoline can in order to convict her of murder and arson.

    I’ve got your “criminal business” alright. Try it like this: who’s going to have better access to the technology and data necessary to fabrications.

    Figure it out.