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13 J.L. & Pol'y 69 (2005)
Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA in the Courtroom

handle is hein.journals/jlawp13 and id is 75 raw text is: NUCLEAR AND MITOCHONDRIAL DNA
IN THE COURTROOM
Julian Adams, Ph.D. *
INTRODUCTION
The overwhelming value of DNA evidence is now well
recognized and accepted. During the last fifteen years, the use of
DNA information has significantly changed the legal landscape in
three different areas. First, in the area of criminal litigation,
particularly in the prosecution of violent crimes, the introduction of
DNA evidence has convinced the courts of the guilt of many
defendants and has persuaded countless others to plead guilty or to
plea bargain. At the same time, the introduction of DNA evidence
in criminal appeals has, as of October 2004, led to the exoneration
of 154 individuals, many of whom faced the death penalty.'
Second, the value of DNA evidence has also been recognized in
the resolution of numerous parentage and even grandparentage
disputes. Prior to the availability of DNA information, U.S. courts
recognized the limited evidentiary value of blood group data and
correspondingly restricted the use of such data to the identification
2
of paternity exclusions, though several European countries have
* The author is a Professor of Biology in the Department of Molecular
Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan in Ann
Arbor, MI. The author thanks R. Bretz, E. Pichersky, and G. Supanich for
helpful discussion and comments on the manuscript. Preparation of this
manuscript was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant
A155756.
For information on the use of DNA evidence to exonerate wrongfully
convicted individuals, see http://www.innocenceproject.org (last visited Dec. 23,
2004).
2 K.S. Broun & H.D. Krause, Paternity Blood Tests and the Courts, in

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