Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

DNA? So What?

Posted by Maggie on September 6, 2007

Mississippi has taken on the unenviable title of being the first state to re-try someone exonerated through DNA evidence.  The New York Times covers the story of Kennedy Brewer today and you have to admit their coverage is a teensy bit biased. But it’s in favor of the defendant. Brewer was convicted in 1995 of killing and raping his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.

The article points out a multitude of interesting tidbits. Like the fact that the Sheriff hasn’t bothered to reinvestigate the case. And that less than two years before this murder a nearly identical one took place in the same county. And that bite mark evidence from a questionable expert witness was some of the primary evidence. (If you haven’t heard, bite marks are complete crap. If anyone tries to get in bite mark evidence, get yourself an expert asap.) And that the DA hasn’t bothered checking the DNA used to exonerate against the state database. Not just that…

[District Attorney John Allgood] also ran a second test that excluded Mr. Brewer’s male relatives. But he did not run the profile against the state’s DNA database, saying in an interview that no such database exists.

That was a surprise to John M. Allen, the assistant director of the state crime laboratory, who said, “We’ve been up and running on our DNA database for years.”

I’m not able to find a lot of additional web resources on this case. There is an article at foxnews.com, of all places, with a nice bit on the insanity of the bite evidence.

One Response to “DNA? So What?”

  1. […] by Maggie on February 8, 2008 Back in September, I wrote about a horrific case in Mississippi where a man was exonerated by DNA evidence (back in 2001!) but the prosecutor insisted he would be […]

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