In their investigations of criminal cases, law enforcement agencies rely heavily on forensic evidence. Numerous studies have examined the scientific and technological advancements of DNA testing, but little evidence exists on how the availability of DNA evidence influences prosecutors' decisions to move cases forward in the criminal justice system. We created a new database by juxtaposing data from the Forensics Division of the Israel Police, which recorded the presence (or not) of DNA profiles in criminal cases (n = 9862), and data on the indictment decision for each case (2008–2019). Rates of indictments are computed for each case, and trend lines are used to present variations in the rates of indictment decisions with and without DNA profiles. Approximately 15% of all criminal cases without DNA presented to the prosecutor's office are subsequently prosecuted, compared with nearly 55% of cases with DNA profiles. The presence of DNA evidence influences the prosecutor's decision to move a case forward in the criminal justice system. Utilizing a scientific approach to prosecute offenders is a welcome development; however, DNA evidence is not infallible, and caution must be exercised in regard to DNA's overuse in the legal system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!Pathology and Forensic Medicine