Amed Villa, a Cuban exile living in Miami with a long history of arrests and convictions for burglary.and his younger brother Amaury, who has his own substantial rap sheet and once listed his occupation as a self-employed alarm installer, are both scheduled to go to trial in Connecticut in connection with their biggest target — the Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Conn. in March 2010.
The Villa’s operation has been described as an “Oceans Eleven” style scheme out of Florida. According to criminal complaints filed in federal court in New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut and Illinois, the Villa and more than twenty other members of the group had their own trucks, storage facilities and black market wholesalers to dispose of goods stolen from warehouses all over the country. The FBI finally linked the crimes through DNA evidence left behind on a coffee cup and water bottles, which they said belonged to Amed.
DNA evidence is often pushed as being the most accurate form of proof of a person committing a crime to date, being “99.9%” accurate. In practical terms, in a city like Jacksonville of 1 million people, if someone commits a crime and is identified using DNA, it is assumed that only 1000 other people could have committed the crime. In theory, everyone accept identical twins would have different DNA. There is also rare cases of genetic disorders that causes people to have two different sets of DNA.
Despite popular belief, DNA evidence is not as accurate as people might assume. The 99.9% figure that statisticians and law makers often parade is actually often far from accurate. While every person’s DNA is different, a DNA profile, the bit used as evidence, is only a small sliver of a person’s entire DNA, and even siblings may share a very similar DNA profile.
In 2001 Kathryn Troyer ran a test of Arizona’s DNA database of felons and discovered two felons with DNA profiles where 9 of 13 markers were identical, despite the fact that one was white and one was black, and later discovered dozens of other similar matches, yet the FBI estimates the odds of some one sharing those genetic markers to be 1 in 113 billion. The fact that only 13 markers are used out of the entire DNA strain should bring into question the validity of DNA evidence.
Defense experts can demonstrate the many times very high possibility of fabrication of DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in Jacksonville criminal cases. Scientists have shown the ease of fabrication through experiments with fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.
Just this past year, Massachusetts State police chemist Annie Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab, most of which were found to be fabricated or trumped up in order to turn a conviction. Errors can occur if DNA samples are damaged or contaminated from improper handling. Limited amounts or mixtures of DNA profiles can increase misinterpretation of results.
Evidence is often hidden, tainted, or destroyed by someone who has committed a crime or wants to help someone else who is. In many cases, the accused is a private citizen who has tampered with evidence in some fashion. However, the officials responsible for ensuring that evidence is properly preserved, such as drug screening and testing, do not always follow the procedures required under the law.
One should not risk going to jail for a long period of time when an experienced attorney can make sure that their best defense is brought forth and their rights are protected . The prosecution may try its hand at the evidence, but an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney could file a motion to suppress that evidence, ensuring one’s rights are protected under the Constitution.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Hollywood-style caper in $80M theft obtained security plans to get insideTed Sherman/The Star-Ledger