DNA Evidence

Evolving science helps link defendants to crime

July 1, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
St. Joseph County obtained its first conviction using DNA evidence in 1992.
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7th Circuit upholds bank robbery conviction despite errors

December 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although a federal court in Indianapolis committed some errors in admitting certain evidence at a man’s bank robbery trial, those errors were harmless based on DNA evidence and the defendant matching the robber’s description, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday.
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Indiana county settles dispute with forensics firm

October 6, 2014
 Associated Press
A southern Indiana county has reached a settlement in its billing dispute with a forensics company that testified on the prosecution's behalf last year in a triple-murder trial.
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Police allowed to test seized shoe without warrant

August 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday that police do not need to have a warrant before testing lawfully seized evidence, even if that evidence is unrelated to the crime for which the defendant is in custody.
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COA: State had no authority to bring paternity action

May 8, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in ordering a southern Indiana teen to undergo genetic testing to establish paternity of a stillborn child, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. It found the state, which filed the petition for paternity on behalf of the mother, had no authority to bring the action because there were no custody or support issues to be determined.
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DNA in glove at scene sufficient to uphold burglary conviction

April 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a conviction vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The high court unanimously affirmed a conviction of Class C felony burglary with a habitual offender enhancement, finding a glove at the crime scene with the suspect’s DNA was sufficient for a jury to determine guilt.
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Divided high court affirms DNA unnecessary to establish paternity

April 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana Supreme Court justices split 3-2 in affirming that DNA evidence is not required to establish paternity.
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SCOTUS ruling emboldens lawmakers to expand DNA collection

June 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
This time next year, Indiana may join the majority of states that collect DNA samples from people arrested on suspicion of committing felonies, rather than only from those convicted. Lawmakers who’ve been stymied are encouraged by a Supreme Court of the United States decision upholding the practice.
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SCOTUS: isolated, naturally occurring DNA segment can't be patented

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A naturally occurring DNA segment is not eligible for a patent simply because it has been isolated, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled June 13. DNA that is not a product of nature may be patent eligible, however.
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Man who fled after hearing not entitled to discharge

June 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The motion for discharge under Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C) by a man charged in connection with a gun shop burglary in Morgan County was properly denied by the trial court, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. Much of the delay in bringing him to trial within a year was attributable to the appellant, including his decision to flee after a hearing.
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Trial court should have booted the bloody shoe, but conviction stands

April 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a convicted murderer that his bloody shoe should not have been admitted into evidence, but the judges did not overturn the conviction, ruling other substantial independent evidence supported the guilty verdict.
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Pair convicted in liquor store killing not entitled to DNA evidence

April 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
Two men sentenced more than 20 years ago for murder and Class C felony attempted robbery were not improperly denied post-conviction relief when they couldn’t obtain DNA evidence they said would prove exculpatory, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Senate defeats DNA collection bill

February 27, 2013
IL Staff
Legislation that would require every person arrested after June 30 for certain crimes to submit a DNA sample failed to pass the Senate Tuesday.
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Senate judiciary committee to look at abuse, DNA bills

January 22, 2013
IL Staff
The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday and has five bills on its agenda, including legislation that redefines child fatality committees in each county.
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Statute of limitations did not run out on charging man with attempted bank robbery

November 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana man’s conviction for attempted bank robbery stands after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the five-year statute of limitations to bring the charge began tolling under an exception involving DNA testing.
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Appeals court upholds rape conviction

July 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of rape based on DNA evidence and his admission that he had sex with the victim failed to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was denied a fair trial due to the admission of hearsay testimony and a sustained objection to an attempt to refresh the victim’s memory.
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DNA swab of juvenile is not fundamental error

May 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found police acted improperly in swabbing a teen’s penis to obtain DNA evidence and that the trial court erred in admitting this test into evidence, but that the error was harmless.
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Justices reformulate jury instruction

February 15, 2012
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. In doing so, the justices addressed the use and language of a jury instruction and rewrote it to make it clearer.
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Supreme Court rules on cheek swab case

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a 4-1 decision handed down June 30, the Indiana Supreme Court found a man's consent to the swab of his cheek for DNA was voluntary, so the swab didn't violate the Fourth Amendment.
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What's next for Indiana's death penalty?

May 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Unlike other states, Indiana has not abolished or suspended use of executions.
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Law school briefs - 4/13/11

April 13, 2011
IL Staff
Learn more about a lecture by a freed death row inmate, Valparaiso University School of Law's newly reconstructed Heritage Hall, and more.
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DNA expert to discuss wrongful convictions

April 8, 2011
IL Staff
A forensic geneticist who has worked on the exonerations of seven people will visit Indiana University April 15 to give a public lecture on how DNA is used to free people who have been wrongfully convicted and how informatics is being misused to pervert justice.
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Justices accept post-conviction relief case

March 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether a man convicted of murder and rape was denied effective assistance of appellate counsel.
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Judges: DNA admittance was harmless error

December 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed for the first time today the admissibility of DNA evidence when a defendant can’t be excluded from a possibly infinite number of people matching the crime-scene DNA.
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Wrongfully-convicted man sues for withholding evidence

October 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A man who spent nearly 18 years in prison for crimes from which he was later exonerated is now suing the City of Hammond and various police officers involved in his arrest.
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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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