At least 38 closed cases could be affected by a DNA-related mistake in the Columbus police crime lab, and one felon already has asked for a new trial, the Columbus Dispatch reports. At issue are DNA reports that were submitted for criminal cases but were missing the statistical weight, which shows the probability that the DNA belongs to a certain person. Because people can share similar genetic patterns, statistical weight is needed to say whether others in the population might also match.
More letters could be on the way as the crime lab works through its backlog. An outside consultant, Cellmark Forensics of Dallas, is reviewing the work being done by the crime lab and offering recommendations. “It's extremely important for us that everyone has faith in this wonderful piece of science,” said Deputy Police Chief Richard Bash.