Using DNA to catch Killers and free the innocent is not a new concept. We typically think of using DNA to create a direct match between the suspect and the suspect’s DNA left at the crime scene. But what about using a public DNA database to search for potential relatives of a suspect in order to identify the actual suspect?

Below are several stories involving police catching killers using DNA databases most of us are familiar with. Review the stories and videos and answer the following questions.

How Did They Catch the Golden State   Killer? An Online DNA Service and His Genetic Relatives Revealed   the Suspect.


Another Murderer Caught Using Same DNA Website as the Golden State Killer Case


Search for ‘Golden State Killer’ Leads to Arrest of Ex-Cop.


1. Does a suspect have any privacy in the DNA he leaves at a crime scene to include DNA left inside of the body of a rape victim? Explain your answer, legally.

2. Does a person have privacy in their DNA left on trash that they discard? Explain your answer.

3. Is it okay, legally, for the police to use a suspect’s DNA to create a fake profile on a public DNA site in order to help identify relatives of that suspect?

4. Do any of these police tactics affect people who have not committed a crime? Explain how.

5. If the police have to use public databases for sources of DNA, what does that say about theories that the government has all of our DNA?

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