Thursday, April 20, 2017
Lawmakers Seek To Use DNA Of Relatives In Criminal Investigations
A vote on whether to approve a proposal that would allow familial DNA searching in certain criminal cases has been delayed by New York state’s Forensic Science Committee. The controversial proposal has been sent back to a special subcommittee to “tighten up the language.” If approved, the new policy would allow police to investigate family members of New Yorkers whose DNA closely matches DNA found at crime scenes.
Because familial searching has gotten little to no coverage in mainstream media, many people have no idea what it is — or that it’s already being used in California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Ohio.
“Familial searching is an additional search of a law enforcement DNA database conducted after a routine search has been completed and no profile matches are identified during the process. Unlike a routine database search which may spontaneously yield partial match profiles, familial searching is a deliberate search of a DNA database conducted for the intended purpose of potentially identifying close biological relatives to the unknown forensic profile obtained from crime scene evidence. Familial searching is based on the concept that first-order relatives, such as siblings or parent/child relationships, will have more genetic data in common than unrelated individuals. Practically speaking, familial searching would only be performed if the comparison of the forensic DNA profile with the known offender/arrestee DNA profiles has not identified any matches to any of the offenders/arrestees.”