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Note - Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Failure of DNA Evidence


The manner that law enforcement uses DNA evidence in the United States has solidified a feeling of a dragnet search, whereby law enforcement views the public as guilty of a crime before its commission. In this country we enjoy certain freedoms, liberties, and protections against unwanted government intrusion, and we believe—without knowing any better—that a person is innocent of a crime until proven guilty. The reality, however, suggests otherwise. This Note sheds light on the current fallacy that is the Presumption of Innocence standard in the United States. The cause for concern is multi-faceted, but this Note addresses issues such as new DNA testing regulations, the lack of uniform DNA record and sample expungement when someone is found innocent of a crime, and how the current statutes allow the innocent until proven guilty standard to go the way of the Dodo bird. This Note explains how recent DNA testing laws place innocent and guilty into the same category, proposes an amendment to current expungement law that would ensure complete expungement for all eligible, and considers how we can resuscitate once again the idea that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.