Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pretty good day for the defense in Yogurt Shop hearing--Part 2

One of the first things Judge Lynch explained today was that, since he had been out of town on an emergency, the order for the State to turn over many items to the defense for DNA testing (see pdfs of the order in today's first post) had been signed by Judge Charlie Baird instead. I was glad to get that explanation because I thought it seemed weird that a judge other than Lynch would sign the order, but apparently that's not at all unusual for that kind of situation.

The reason the prosecutors contended they were unwilling to release to the defense the requested items for DNA testing is that the integrity of those items (all of which were admitted into evidence in both original trials) has not been maintained, including the chain of custody.

From the witness stand, Darla Davis explained that once the items are introduced into evidence at trial, it's "just a free for all" in terms of who might have touched or otherwise possibly contaminated the evidence, ranging from the court reporter to the jurors to members of the media to the psychic to whom Sargeant John Jones turned over the multi-colored size 14 shirt.

Prosecutors argued they would be unfairly burdened because of, in Davis' words, "the universe of possibilities" of who could have touched the evidence, that they couldn't force buccal swabs(cells swabbed from inside your cheek)from jurors or any other person who may have touched the items of evidence.

On cross exam, Michael Scott's attorney Dexter Gilford asked Davis why the DPS lab didn't test the entire pink shirt, rather than just two stains. Davis said that sometimes they get back a DNA profile and have no idea whose profile it is. Gilford countered that because they did have DNA reference samples from all four men originally charged and all four victims, it's certainly possible to determine whose profile it's NOT. Davis agreed.

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