December 2010 Vol. 109 No. 3 THE REVIEW
ARTICLES

Relative Doubt: Familial Searches of DNA Databases

Erin Murphy

 

The continued growth of forensic DNA databases has brought about greater interest in a search method known as "familial" or "kinship" matching. Whereas a typical database search seeks the source of a crime-scene stain by making an exact match between a known person and the DNA sample, familial searching instead looks for partial matches in order to find potential relatives of the source. The use of a familial DNA search to identify the alleged "Grim Sleeper" killer in California brought national attention to the method, which has many proponents. In contrast, this Article argues against the practice of familial searching on a variety of grounds, including claims related to equality, accuracy, privacy, racial discrimination, and democratic accountability. It then addresses the legality of the method. Lastly, in the event that arguments to prohibit the practice prove unpersuasive, this Article sets forth recommendations for restrictions on familial searches that might ameliorate their possible iniquitous effects.

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Engineering the Endgame

Ellen D. Katz
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NOTES

When a Company Confesses

Christopher Jackson

 

Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant is normally obligated to attend all of the proceedings against her. However, Rule 43(b)(2) carves out an exception for organizational defendants, stating that they "need not be present" if represented by an attorney. On its face, however, the language of 43(b)(2) is ambiguous: is it the defendant or the judge who has the discretion to decide whether the defendant appears? That is, may a judge compel the presence of an organizational defendant? This Note addresses the ambiguity in the context of the plea colloquy, considering the text of several of the Rules, the purposes behind the plea colloquy proceeding, and the inherent powers doctrine. It argues that district court judges do in fact have the authority to compel an organizational defendant's presence at a plea colloquy.

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Pleading with Congress to Resist the Urge to Overrule Twombly and Iqbal

Michael R. Huston
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