Accession Number:

ADA456707

Title:

DNA Statistical Evidence and the "Ceiling Principle: Science or Science Fiction

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S SCHOOL CHARLOTTESVILE VA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1994-03-01

Pagination or Media Count:

136.0

Abstract:

This thesis examines the scientific foundation behind the National Research Councils ceiling principle method of calculating Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA statistical evidence. Use of DNA evidence is becoming widespread in criminal cases. DNA evidence has generally been admitted by state and federal courts under the test for novel scientific evidence. However, the defense bar, citing several scientists, has attempted to thwart the acceptance of DNA statistical evidence under the Frye test. To resolve the issue, the National Research Council developed a compromise, known as the ceiling principle. This method replaces the actual numbers used in calculating the DNA statistics with more conservative numbers based upon an assumption that the ethnic make-up of the defendant affects the statistics. This thesis finds that the scientific research overwhelmingly refutes the assumption underlying the ceiling principle, making its use unnecessary and unwise. It concludes that the ceiling principle does not pass muster under the Federal Rules of Evidence, which the Supreme Court recently ruled control admission of all scientific evidence in federal courts accordingly, evidence derived via the ceiling principle is inadmissible in federal courts and courts-martial.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Computer Programming and Software

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE