A Test Both Lawyers and Scientists Can Live With: The Rigorous Five-Prong Test for the Admission of DNA Profiling Evidence Adopted in United States v. Matthew Sylvester Two Bulls, 918 F.2d 56 (8th Cir. 1990)
United States v. Matthew Sylvester Two Bulls was a case of first impression in the federal circuit courts addressing the admissibility of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) profiling evidence. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, implementing the commonsense standard adopted in People v. Castro, promulgated a five-prong test to be used by trial courts in pre-trial hearings when determining the admissibility of DNA profiling evidence. In doing so, the court assures that DNA profiling data offered into evidence in that circuit will be among the most highly scrutinized in the country. This Note analyzes the court's holding and applauds its rationale. It begins by setting forth the facts, issue, and holding in Two Bulls. Second, it delineates the commonly used standards for admission of novel scientific evidence in federal courts. Third, this Note examines the standards relied upon by the court in Castro, which were adopted by the court in Two Bulls. Finally, this Note analyzes the impact the additional prongs adopted by the Eighth Circuit will have on the reliability of the DNA evidence admitted into evidence in that circuit. This Note concludes that the Eighth Circuit Court has promulgated a rigorous but fair five-prong test that assures the DNA profiling data offered into testimony will have been scrutinized for flaws. The court clearly has a grasp of the complex theories and techniques involved in DNA profiling. By applying its standard, the court will take advantage of a revolutionary technique without sacrificing protection of the defendant from prejudice due to misleading data.
A Test Both Lawyers and Scientists Can Live With: The Rigorous Five-Prong Test for the Admission of DNA Profiling Evidence Adopted in United States v. Matthew Sylvester Two Bulls, 918 F.2d 56 (8th Cir. 1990),
71 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol71/iss3/8