Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

Smith's Criminal Case Compendium

About

This compendium includes significant criminal cases by the U.S. Supreme Court & N.C. appellate courts, Nov. 2008 – Present. Selected 4th Circuit cases also are included.

Jessica Smith prepared case summaries Nov. 2008-June 4, 2019; later summaries are prepared by other School staff.

Instructions

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E.g., 09/22/2021
E.g., 09/22/2021

The trial court erred by admitting expert testimony regarding DNA evidence that amounted to a "prosecutor's fallacy." That fallacy, the court explained, involves the use of DNA evidence to show "random match probability." Random match probability evidence, it continued, is the probability that another person in the general population would share the same DNA profile as the person whose DNA profile matched the evidence. Citing, McDaniel v. Brown, 558 U.S. 120 (2010), the court explained that "[t]he prosecutor's fallacy is the assumption that the random match probability is the same as the probability that the defendant was not the source of the DNA sample." It continued, quoting from McDaniel:

In other words, if a juror is told the probability a member of the general population would share the same DNA is 1 in 10,000 (random match probability), and he takes that to mean there is only a 1 in 10,000 chance that someone other than the defendant is the source of the DNA found at the crime scene (source probability), then he has succumbed to the prosecutor's fallacy.

Here, error occurred when the State’s expert improperly relied on the prosecutor’s fallacy. However, the error did not rise to the level of plain error.

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