Improper Use Of DNA Evidence Is Reversible Error NJ
- December 29, 2013
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Dow was convicted of murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1)-(2), and possession of a firearm with the unlawful purpose of using it against the person or property of another, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a, for shooting and killing her former lover, William Michael Seidle. The victim was shot 3 times in the home he had shared with the defendant. The police recovered no evidence of a murder weapon or any other incriminating evidence when after a search of defendant’s residence and storage unit. Another woman Seidle had been seeing received 2 voice messages from a woman with a deep voice and English accent instructing her to leave Seidle alone. Neighbors testified defendant was outside Seidle’s home on the morning he was killed and her car was in the driveway the night before. Defendant was suspected of faxing 2 disparaging letters to Seidle’s employer within the days leading up to the murder and was identified by the clerk in the printing store from which the faxes were sent. The day after Seidle’s death was reported in the news, defendant attempted suicide leaving a lengthy note indicating her suicide attempt was on that date as it was the anniversary of her daughter’s death, implicating her former lover in arranging to have Seidle “fixed”, accusing Seidle of beating her regularly and failing to indicate knowledge of Seidle’s death but he testified to the contrary on behalf of the State. The State used a DNA expert to explain that comparing DNA to DNA found in evidence can either include or exclude them as present or determine them to be the source of the DNA and tying this into a cut on defendant’s nose not seen before Seidle’s death. The State’s expert did acknowledge that the mixture of DNA did not mean that all of the DNA on the fabric was placed there at the same time and defendant had lived with Seidle for some time prior to their break-up just before his murder. In State v. Dow, the NJ appellate court reversed the conviction and remanded for a new trial after finding that the prosecutor’s use of the DNA evidence was knowingly mischaracterized and the admission of the defendant’s suicide note without adequate evaluation of her statement that the suicide attempt, on the anniversary of her daughter’s death, was in any way related to guilt or avoidance of prosecution. If you are facing criminal charges, there may be multiple defenses you have and the prosecution will make every effort to utilize any piece of evidence against you. It is critical that you obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you immediately. For more information about weapons possession or other criminal issues in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.