The role of DNA in criminal indictments in Israel

Esther Buchnik*, Barak Ariel, Avi Domb, Nir Treves, Ron Gafny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1755-1758
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Forensic Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Keywords

  • DNA evidence
  • confessions
  • decision-making
  • indictments

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