Issues with DNA testing may have impact on some criminal cases

The Travis County District Attorney's Office says that the way DNA is tested may have led to some people being wrongly convicted. The issue involves the interpretation of DNA results as well as potential problems with a database used to calculate DNA statistics.

A DPS notice in June stated the database developed by the FBI and used by Texas Crime Labs had errors, meaning more than one person could have the same genetic markers. 

State officials say any district attorney's office that uses the DPS lab for DNA testing is affected by this. That includes Travis, Waller and Harris Counties. Other counties are also included.

The full press release from the Travis County District Attorney's Office is as follows:

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office has learned of scientific concerns involving the interpretation of DNA results where multiple contributors might be present, as well as an issue related to the database commonly used to calculate DNA statistics.  The potential impact of changes to the mixture protocols and the database is still unknown, but they may have a material impact on some criminal cases.  The exact number of Travis County cases that will be reviewed is still unknown, but will probably be in the hundreds.

We are in the process of identifying all Travis County cases where these issues need to be addressed and providing notice to the interested parties.  This is expected to be a large undertaking, requiring the addition of attorneys and paralegals to our Conviction Integrity Unit.  In the interim, this office will work to facilitate any requests for DNA reviews based on the changes.

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