Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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The purpose of this article is to highlight the areas of DNA analysis that make it less reliable than most people believe and to show that because of this, misconduct related to DNA evidence should not receive harmless error review. The most reliable evidence sees no color, gender or socioeconomic status. Evidence can be an imperfect measure and manipulated by the pride and prejudice of those who control it. The recent explosion in the number of exonerations for wrongful conviction highlights a major flaw in the system - prosecutorial misconduct. This misconduct can take the form of presenting unreliable evidence, withholding exculpatory evidence or misusing scientific evidence. Evidence is often obtained through questionable practices, and prosecutors may then "cherry-pick" which evidence will be presented at trial. Add to this mix DNA evidence, which is widely misunderstood. Wrongful conviction, prosecutorial misconduct and the harmless error doctrine are intricately intertwined. Prosecutors are allowed to make mistakes, these mistakes may lead to wrongful conviction and the harmless error doctrine is used to excuse the mistakes. When misunderstanding is combined with misconduct, problems are bound to ensue.



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