November 9th, 2012
On November 15, 2012, Dr. Julie A. Heinig, DDC’s Forensic Director, will visit Columbus, OH to participate in the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ annual Death Penalty Seminar. The topic, “Behind the DNA Report; How to Combat the Evidence” will be part of a 3-day Continuing Legal Education seminar for attorneys in the state of Ohio. Together with Lancaster, OH attorney Andrew Stevenson, Dr. Heinig will present unbiased information that will help attendees understand the basics of DNA, how it is used in human identification, and its legal implications in capital cases. Often when DNA evidence is presented in a case, attorneys may seek an independent expert to help them determine if the conclusions of DNA analysis already conducted are in fact supported by the underlying data. Additional DNA analysis or second-opinion testing may be required in a DNA case that could prove critical to the case outcome. Dr. Heinig has over 18 years of experience in the scientific field of DNA, and as a forensic DNA expert, she has worked on hundreds of criminal cases where DNA has played a crucial role. Her skills as a reviewer of other laboratories’ work and the technical reviewer of DNA analysis at DNA Diagnostics Center allows Dr. Heinig to give relevant and useful information to attorneys whose casework may include DNA issues.
December 21st, 2011
Christmas wishes came true this year for Janice Porter, a Louisville resident whose son, Kerry, was exonerated and released from the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex this Monday. Mr. Porter has been imprisoned for 14 years for the 1996 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend’s husband, a crime he has always insisted he did not commit.
Melanie Lowe, attorney with the Kentucky Innocence Project, has been working on Porter’s case for the past 5 years and contacted DNA Diagnostics Center to provide the forensic DNA expertise on previously untested evidence in the case. Because DNA testing was not readily available and/or reliable at the time of Porter’s trial, the Innocence Project asked for DNA testing to be completed on the crime scene evidence.
The forensic analysts at DDC (DNA Diagnostics Center) conducted extensive testing on duct tape used to make a homemade gun silencer found at the crime scene. DNA analysis of this key piece of evidence excluded Kerry Porter as a contributor to the DNA identified on the duct tape. The Louisville Metro Police Department’s cold-case unit, led by Detective Sgt. Denny Butler, worked closely with the Innocence Project in the investigation of this case and was instrumental in the dismissal of charges and Mr. Porter’s exoneration.
Post-conviction DNA analysis, which often includes testing severely degraded or difficult samples, is nothing new to the experts at DDC Forensics. Since 2006, DNA Diagnostics Center has played a critical role in the exoneration of wrongfully imprisoned individuals in several states. Working effectively with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and Innocence Project lawyers is as crucial to the process as high quality laboratory procedures. Today, DDC is proudly assisting Innocence Network projects nationwide. It is DDC’s mission to provide impartial, unbiased DNA testing for all who seek the truth.