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Inside the Cell

Inside the Cell

The Dark Side of Forensic DNA

Josiah Sutton was convicted of rape. He was five inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter than the suspect described by the victim, but at trial a lab analyst testified that his DNA was found at the crime scene. His case looked like many others—arrest, swab, match, conviction. But there was just one problem—Sutton was innocent.

We think of DNA forensics as an infallible science that catches the bad guys and exonerates the innocent. But when the science goes rogue, it can lead to a gross miscarriage of justice. Erin Murphy exposes the dark side of forensic DNA testing: crime labs that receive little oversight and produce inconsistent results; prosecutors who push to test smaller and poorer-quality samples, inviting error and bias; law-enforcement officers who compile massive, unregulated, and racially skewed DNA databases; and industry lobbyists who push policies of “stop and spit.”

DNA testing is rightly seen as a transformative technological breakthrough, but we should be wary of placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of the same broken criminal justice system that has produced mass incarceration, privileged government interests over personal privacy, and all too often enforced the law in a biased or unjust manner. Inside the Cell exposes the truth about forensic DNA, and shows us what it will take to harness the power of genetic identification in service of accuracy and fairness.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Social Science / Criminology

On Sale: October 6th 2015

Price: $14.99 / $18.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 400

ISBN-13: 9781568584706

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

“A specialized work that will appeal to attorneys, investigators, crime writers, and others on the frontiers of forensic DNA laws and technologies.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This brilliant, accessible, and extremely important book by one of our foremost scholars has a timely message: Without disputing its transformative impact, Murphy argues that DNA testing is not a panacea for the criminal justice system or forensic scientists. Murphy provides a balanced, thoughtful, and essential roadmap to a more democratic future. A must-read.” —Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, cofounders, the Innocence Project

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