Washington Law Review


In State v. Cauthron, the Washington Supreme Court issued its first opinion concerning forensic DNA evidence. The court clearly held that the principles underlying DNA evidence and the restricted fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method of DNA typing are generally accepted in the scientific community and are therefore admissible under the Frye test. The court refused to find that the trial court had properly admitted DNA evidence, however, because testimony that the suspect's DNA "matched" the perpetrator's was not supported by probability statistics. This Note demonstrates that the court was unclear in its discussion of when probability statistics meet the Frye test, leaving other courts with little guidance. This Note thus proposes that courts should admit DNA evidence supported by conservative probability statistics.

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