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United States v. Williams

June 17, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL DENNIS WILLIAMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER DENYING

Defendant Williams' Motion to Exclude DNA Test Results and Request for Daubert Hearing

On December 16, 2008, Defendant Williams' Motion to Exclude DNA Test Results and Request for Daubert Hearing came on for regular calendar before this Court. On December 23, 2008, this Court Denied Defendant Williams' Motion. However, this Court reserved its ruling as to whether the Government conducted LCN testing on two DNA samples found to match Defendant, and whether LCN testing meets the Daubert standard.

The Court reserved its ruling pending further briefing by the parties.

After the parties submitted additional briefing and on March 10, 2009, the Court issued an order stating that,

The critical issue in this Motion is whether the LAPD crime lab conducted Low Copy Number DNA ("LCN") testing on the two DNA samples at issue. In order to determine if LCN testing was conducted, the Court must determine the proper definition of LCN testing and if it was conducted in this case. Defendant has not made an adequate showing that LCN testing was conducted in this case; therefore, the Court requests further briefing in response to this concern.

Moreover, in Defendant's Reply he states that.03 ng and.06 ng of input DNA were tested. However, in subsequent briefings, Defendant states.3 ng and.6 ng of input DNA were tested. The Court requests that Defendant clarify his argument in this respect. (Do. No. 802.)

The Court having received and reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion, NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS:

The Court DENIES Defendant Williams' Motion to Exclude DNA Test Results and Request for Daubert Hearing. The Court finds that Low Copy Number DNA testing ("LCN testing") was not conducted on the two samples at issue. This determination is ascertainable from the submitted papers, and the Court does not need to hold an evidentiary hearing to make this determination. Moreover, a Daubert Hearing to determine the reliability and admissibility of LCN testing is unnecessary since LCN testing was not used in this case. ///

I. Factual Background

The LAPD recovered DNA samples #140A and #140B from latex gloves recovered at the scene of the crime. Criminologists conducted DNA testing on these samples and matched them to Defendant Williams ("Defendant"). The amount of input DNA that was amplified and available for testing for samples #140A and #140B was recorded as.6 ng and.3 ng, respectively.*fn1 This is equivalent to 600 pg and 300 pg, respectively. The manufacturer of the DNA testing kits recommends the use of between 1.0 and 2.5 ng of input template DNA in order to effectively type the DNA.

Defendant argues that testing this small amount of input DNA qualifies as LCN testing, and is therefore not admissible under Daubert. Moreover, in his Response to Prosecution's Sur-Surreply to Opposition to Motion to Exclude DNA Test Results and Request for Daubert Hearing ("Response to March 9, 2009 Order"), Defendant argues that LAPD criminologists used the slot blot method to measure the amount of input DNA, and therefore, might have tested an even smaller amount than recorded. The Government responds that the crime lab did not conduct LCN testing and the test results are reliable.

II. The Government Did Not Conduct ...


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