In 1987 DNA evidence in criminal trial was likely considered, novel, experimental science.
DNA got its first courtroom test in Orange County, Florida. Casey Anthony prosecutor, Jeff Ashton gained the world’s first DNA conviction of a rapist more than 20 years ago. Florida appeals court upheld the conviction and Florida became the first state to affirm on appeal the use of DNA. Since then DNA profiling has helped to acquit or convict suspects in many of the most violent crimes all over the world.
Jeff Ashton in 1987 arguing in courtroom for DNA evidence ‘That is not controversial or new procedure’ he says. (Image: credit wesh. com)
In Casey Anthony case, her defence team argued that the evidence such as hair samples, air samples and cadaver dogs evidence, that State wanted to present, are not simply credible. Anthony’s defence insisted such forensic evidence should not be admissible in court since the discovery is based on novel, experimental scientific research that is not generally accepted by scientific community. The defendant requested a Frye hearing to question the reliability of scientific evidence.
It’s the first time the air samples are introduced in a U.S. criminal case.
Hair sample with evidence of an apparent human decomposition or post-mortem root banding – the scientific name for the phenomenon – has never been used as evidence in a Florida criminal trial until the Anthony case. Prosecutors say these tests prove Caylee’s body was in the trunk of Casey’s car.
After voicing some concern that the issue ‘may come back to bite’ in the form of an appeal, Judge Belvin Perry decided to allow such ‘controversial’ evidence at Anthony’s trial.
Casey Anthony trial continues with expert scientific testimonies. She is accused of killing her 2 year old daughter, Caylee. She pleaded not guilty.
Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton retired in June 2011 after unsuccessfully arguing along with Linda Drane – Burdick that 2 year old Florida girl Caylee Anthony died in the hands of her mother.