The Instigator
missmozart
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
ThinkBig
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Compulsory Inclusion of Non-Felons' DNA by any Government Database is Just

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
missmozart
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,079 times Debate No: 93533
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (52)
Votes (5)

 

missmozart

Pro

If you are not eligible to debate and wish to do so, please do not hesitate to contact me via PM or other.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening arguments + rebuttals by Con (optional)
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals and conclusion

Definitions
Compulsory:Required by law or a rule [1]
*Felon: a criminal who has committed a serious crime [2]
Database: a comprehensive collection of related data organised for convenient access [3]
Just: Based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair [4]

(*This debate is about non-felons)

Rules
-All arguments must be posted in the debate (source links can be posted in comments if needed)
-No trolling
-No source spams
-No forfeiting
-Failure to observe or acknowledge these rules/definitions will result in an automatic forfeit.

Citations
[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://www.dictionary.com...;
[4] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
ThinkBig

Con

I would like to thank missmozart for challenging me to this debate. I've seen your previous debates and looking forward to an excellent exchange.

May the best man (or woman) win.
Debate Round No. 1
missmozart

Pro

Firstly, I'd like to thank ThinkBig for accepting this debate! I'm sure it will be very interesting for both of us.

My opponent and I have agreed that the Burden of Proof in this debate is shared.

Italicised words: quoting my opponent
Underlined words: directly quoting from a named source

I now begin with my opening arguments.

___


Crime

The principal purpose of a DNA database in any country is to aid in solving and preventing crimes. As of now, most countries only include the genetic information of felons' DNA on their database, ie. only people who have been convicted of a crime. In this debate, I will prove why this should be expanded to the entire population rather than only a minority.

The compulsory inclusion of non-felons' DNA in a government database will help to accurately and quickly solve crimes and has already proven to do so. In the UK alone, the National DNA Database helps to identify a suspect in 60% of criminal cases [1]. Almost 8% of the UK's population have their DNA on this database, both felons and non-felons of all ages and ethnicities [1]. It is quite clear from this that a DNA database is indeed very successful in solving crimes. If the inclusion of everybody's DNA in the database is made compulsory, I am confident to say that there will definitely be a much higher increase in the percentage of solving crimes from the information given above. In cases of doubt on the uniqueness of an individual's DNA, the chances of having the same DNA as someone else, for example finger prints is about one in a billion [2].

Secondly, a DNA database for the entire population has proven to be much more effective than any other alternative methods we have today. The current alternative methods used by police forces all over the world include one of the most used eye-witness testimonies. There are many disadvantages to this method and I am going to briefly describe a few. The first and most obvious one is that one's memory especially from a situation where there was an overwhelming feeling of fear or anxiety, cannot be fully trusted. A story is told differently each time and memories can be affected in this way. The act of telling a story adds another layer of distortion, which in turn affects the underlying memory of the event. This is why a fish story, which grows with each retelling, can eventually lead the teller to believe it [3]. The second disadvantage of an eye witness testimony is that we will automatically go for discriminatory dragnets based on the already unreliable evidence. While bias is obviously negative, it can easily occur. Well-intentioned officers who err may do so not as a result of intentional discrimination, but because they have what has been proffered as widespread human biases [4]. A DNA database however, could easily solve the issue of discrimination and I will be discussing this further later.



Human Rights

It is believed by some people that having a DNA database for non-felons 'violates people's rights' but this has already been thoroughly considered by various organisations etc. The establishment of the Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative for example has worked on helping human rights for DNA databases worldwide [5]:

The project aims to build global civil society's capacities to engage in the policy-making processes on the development of national and international DNA databases and cross-border sharing of forensic information and to protect human rights by setting international standards for DNA databases [5].

In most countries, for example the US, all new-born babies go through a screening test which involves testing a few drops of the baby's blood to ensure that it is healthy and that no disorders/diseases are present [6]. This is definitely not 'invading their privacy' as the main intention of the test is for the best interests of the baby. The same theory can be applied to having a DNA database.

Although a DNA database may be considered 'an invasion of privacy' at times, it is definitely just when taking the entire population's security into account rather than only a few mere individuals.


Discrimination

I briefly touched on this earlier in the crime section. The problem with having a felon-only database is that first of all, it only includes a minority of the overall population. Therefore, if DNA is unmatched, a police force will have no choice but to search unconvicted people. This can lead to bias as I explained earlier and also as a result, searching in limited areas. Suspected subjects will be asked for their DNA sample and to be searched, and even if they refuse, it will be taken from them forcefully by warrants. This is definitely unjust and furthermore, quite ineffective compared to a DNA database that includes non-felons. The police as a result will begin to lose credibility among the people as using forceful methods such as warrants is definitely an 'invasion of privacy'.

A DNA database will also have long-term advantages regarding discrimination as it will help to diminish some current bias relating to racism, classism and even sexism. Therefore, not only does a DNA database reduce the discrimination of the police, but also future discrimination of a country as crimes are punished fairly.


Justice

The main point of the resolution is whether a DNA database is just and I believe that it definitely is. A DNA database will most importantly, improve our justice system as more felons are discovered and convicted of crimes. It is just because instead of asking for individuals for DNA samples, everybody is analysed equally and judged fairly. Finally, to reiterate, the most essential duty of a country's government is to protect all of its people. With a DNA database, although individual rights may be affected, the entire population as a result will have benefitted. Therefore, for the sake of a country, a DNA database is just and that is the most important aspect in this debate.



Conclusion

The compulsory inclusion of non-felons' DNA by any government database is just because it helps the entire population in relation to crimes and has already proven to be an extremely effective way of reducing and solving crime. We will never have a perfect justice system but the most important thing we have to do is to constantly strive for perfection and to continuously improve what we already have.

Thank you for reading and I beg you to oppose.



Citations:
[1] http://www.yourgenome.org...
[2] http://dnafingerprinting19.tripod.com...
[3] https://agora.stanford.edu...
[4] http://www.policechiefmagazine.org...
[5] https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org...
[6] http://www.babysfirsttest.org...



ThinkBig

Con

Many thanks to missmozart for her impressive opening round. This is a unique topic that I have never done before and had to do some extensive reading on. I always love a good challenge where I am learning about a new issue. Let's begin.

I. DNA Databases are Not Effective

A. DNA is useless for most crimes

The main problem with using DNA databases is that they are useless for most crimes. Tania Simoncelli notes:

"DNA is often not left or found at the scene of a property crime. To look for DNA where it is not obviously present requires painstaking painstaking and costly crime scene investigation, during which forensic technicians scour the scene looking for trace evidence that may or may not carry the DNA of the perpetrator. Moreover, DNA found in these situations may not be of sufficient quality and quantity to permit testing. According to the Chief of Investigation of the Denver Police Department, only eight percent of all burglaries can be investigated using DNA gathered from a crime scene." [1]

B. False Accusations

DNA is not infallible and is subject to errors. Consequently, having a national DNA database puts innocent people at risk for false accusations and wrongful convictions. Dr. Harry Levine et al. note [2]:

"Contrary to what many believe, DNA evidence is not infallible. Knowledgeable observers and insiders have pointed out that errors occasionally appear even in the best laboratories and quite often in others. Problems include: mixing up and cross-contamination of DNA samples; the considerable judgment and misjudgment involved in DNA analysis; and biases in interpretation, which tend to favor the prosecution. As the size and number of DNA databases expand, so too does the potential for error and abuse.

Some have argued that innocent people should not care that their DNA is in the criminal justice databases. If they are not guilty, it is said, they will have no problems. We recommend that legislators who claim the DNA databases are free from error - and who advocate including DNA from misdemeanor arrests, neighborhood sweeps, or familial searches - should be encouraged to put their own DNA and that of their immediate family members into the databases. Most are unlikely to do so because being in the DNA databases does indeed put one at risk of being falsely accused and even convicted of serious crimes. It is also revealing that police departments and police unions fiercely oppose putting police officers' DNA in the databases.

Despite the technical errors and errors of interpretation, DNA databases are now being used, and will be used ever more in the future, to identify suspects and to convict people. As a result, Black and Latino teenagers and young people who are disproportionately and unjustly arrested for marijuana possession and other misdemeanors are also disproportionally at higher risk of being falsely suspected, accused and even convicted of more serious crimes - and so are their genetically similar relatives."

William Thompson similarly notes notes [3]:

"DNA evidence has caused false incriminations and false convictions, and will continue to do so. Although DNA tests incriminate the correct person in the great majority of cases, the risk of false incrimination is high enough to deserve serious consideration in debates about expansion of DNA databases. The risk of false incrimination is borne primarily by individuals whose profiles are included in government databases (and perhaps by their relatives). Because there are racial, ethnic and class disparities in the composition of databases, the risk of false incrimination will fall disproportionately on members of the included groups.

And this leads us to the next point. Because everyone will be entered in the DNA database, what is stopping criminals from taking advantage of this to throw off investigators? Indeed, Simconellia writes [1]:

"DNA databases create an extraordinary resource of forensic evidence. Criminals will undoubtedly attempt to make use of this resource by obtaining and planting at a crime scene what is apparently unimpeachable evidence that someone else committed the crime. The more inclusive the database, the greater the resource, and the more likely such incidents will result in false accusations and false incriminations. The imprimatur of certainty that is attached to DNA makes this problem all the more worrisome. Faced with DNA evidence, an investigator may not look for the real perpetrator or may overlook other important evidence. Taking these concerns together, we could be looking at a whole new class of miscarriages of justice should DNA databases continue to expand, unheeded."

2. The Presumption of Innocence and Protection Against Unreasonable Search

Among the mantras of democracy and just government is the assumption of innocence and the protection against unreasonable seaches and seizures. These legal rights apply to everyone, regardless of past convictions or not. A DNA database that includes everybody would violate such assumption of innocence. Consequently, it would also violate the right to protection against unreasonable searches.

Simoncelli and Krimsky write [4]

"The trend to collect and bank the DNA from innocent persons including newborns, schoolchildren, suspects and arrestees is highly problematic. First, it marks a fundamental shift in the purpose and intent of what have been termed “criminal” databanks. The routine trawling of these databases by law enforcement renders the people whose personal data are included as suspects for any and all future crimes even though they have not actually been deemed suspects by any method. Requiring persons convicted of a crime to forfeit certain rights of bodily integrity and privacy while under authority of the penal system has been ruled defensible. However, subjecting those who have never been suspected of a crime, let alone convicted of one, to this treatment potentially undermines the presumption of innocence. Adding the DNA data from millions of innocent persons to these databanks alters their purpose from one of criminal investigation to population surveillance, subverting our deepest notions of a free and autonomous citizenry."


Because it potentially violates the presumption of innocence, it also violates the right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Simoncelli and Krimsky continue:

"Law enforcement’s use of these tools to search, profile and store the DNA of those who have not been convicted of a crime, without a court order or individualized suspicion, has already exceeded reasonable constitutional protections. In particular, a number of new genetic techniques and practices are providing law enforcement unprecedented access into the private lives of innocent persons by way of their own genetic data."

The conduct of a "search" requires probable cause and a warrant, or at the very least reasonable suspicion. DNA testing absolutely qualifies as a "search." [5] If there is no reason to conduct such a search, then the search is unjustified. Indeed, as Justice Utter of the Washington Supreme Court states [6]:

"We would be appalled, I hope, if the State mandated non-consensual blood tests of the public at large for purposes of developing a comprehensive... DNA databank. The Fourth Amendment guaranty against unreasonable searches and seizures would mean little indeed if it did not protect citizens from such oppressive government behavior."

3. Costs and Logistics

Building and maintaining such a database would be very costly. Simoncelli notes [1]:

"The actual per sample costs of testing are difficult to estimate. A conservative estimate of $50 per sample indicates that to test the entire population of arrested individuals in the United States would cost $670 million per year. This estimate represents only the costs of DNA collection and profile generation, and does not reflect the infrastructure costs that would be associated with hiring and training additional laboratory and administrative personnel, purchasing equipment to meet increased testing capacity demands, and expanding laboratory space. In addition, while some people are arrested more than once, we do not have a system in place that would prevent duplicate collection and testing. To develop that capacity would require significant.
"

Money spent on DNA databases is money not spent on other law enforcement programs. The money and time spent building a database would be better spent elsewhere.

Conclusion

Establishment of a national DNA database is unjust because it is ineffective and an unjustified invasion of privacy. Requiring everyone to submit DNA tests violates the assumption of innocence and unreasonable searches and seizures.

I will begin rebuttals in the next round! I am out of characters.

____________

Sources: http://www.debate.org...;


Debate Round No. 2
missmozart

Pro

Thank you ThinkBig!

To prevent any confusion (since your argument consisted of many cited passages from sources):

italicised words: quoting my opponent
underlined words: directly quoting a named source
*italicised and underlined words*: quoting my opponent's sources

___

Before I begin, I would like to remind everyone that the principal issue of this debate is whether a national DNA database is just or unjust.


Rebuttals

1. DNA databases are not effective:

"DNA is often not left or found at the scene of a property crime. To look for DNA where it is not obviously present requires painstaking painstaking and costly crime scene investigation"

To reiterate, the UK currently has the world's largest national DNA database and it helps to identify a suspect in 60% of criminal cases [1]. The undeniable success of the UK's national database has proven that it is indeed very useful for solving criminal cases effectively. When I say that a DNA database is essential in aiding police forces to solve crime, I am obviously not implying that it should be wholly relied on. Of course other methods must be applied too in order to guarantee accuracy but since a DNA database has clearly proven effective, it is definitely a useful tool to aid in investigations when appropriate.

”only eight percent of all burglaries can be investigated using DNA gathered from a crime scene”

A felon-only DNA database only includes a minority of the population and the sad fact is that criminals are born each day. Therefore, in the 8% of burglary cases where DNA is found, many cannot be traced because as I stated, criminals represent only a small percentage of the entire population, even if they are more likely to commit a crime. Also, burglaries are not the only type of crime. Homicides, kidnapping and rape among others are also cases where a DNA database could prove very useful when there is no other evidence or method.

"DNA is not infallible and is subject to errors. Consequently, having a national DNA database puts innocent people at risk for false accusations..."

I am well aware of that fact. As Confucius once said: "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." In other words, do not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. I'm sure we've all heard of this saying before. As I stated earlier, our justice system is not perfect and will never ever be perfect or be in a state that everyone can agree on. I also explained in the previous round how our current alternative methods (such as the eye-witness testimony) are not completely accurate either. Having a national DNA database that includes non-felons would be a huge step forward in improving the security of our society despite the fact that it may not be always 100% accurate. The fact that it is not completely accurate is well-known and will obviously be considered at all times. Think about it, if not having or using a DNA database means that we should use even worse and less accurate methods, then what is the point? Everyday criminals are getting better and more sophisticated, I think it is about time that the police force should too.

"It is also revealing that police departments and police unions fiercely oppose putting police officers' DNA in the databases.”

I don't really know why this has been bolded by my opponent but I will respond nevertheless. Felon or non-felon, police or not, everybody should have their DNA in the government database regardless. Every single individual should be analysed equally and judged fairly because that is what I call 'just' and what this debate is all about.

"DNA databases (...) will be used ever more in the future..."

This only proves that DNA databases are good.

”...As a result, Black and Latino teenagers (...) are also disproportionally at higher risk of being falsely suspected, accused and even convicted of more serious crimes."

Unfortunately, I am slightly confused. I don't really understand why people of specific ethnicities will have a higher chance of being falsley accused simply because DNA databases will be more used in the future. I would be very grateful if my opponent would explain this to me in the next round to clear everything up!

"Criminals will undoubtedly attempt to make use of this resource by obtaining and planting at a crime scene what is apparently unimpeachable evidence that someone else committed the crime"

As I explained earlier, all of this will be obviously considered by forensic investigators. DNA testing should be used as an important tool and not the basis or main purpose of an investigation.

__

2. The Presumption of Innocence and Protection Against Unreasonable Search

"A DNA database that includes everybody would violate such assumption of innocence."

Nobody is innocent or guilty until it is proven, just as Schrodinger's cat is neither dead or alive until the box is opened. However, I can see where your point is coming from. Therefore, I propose that felons' and non-felons' DNA should be kept in different sections and the felons' database should always be searched first to minimise any wrong claims. As citizens, I believe that it should be our duty to our country to give our DNA in order to benefit the entire population. My motion is that we should implement compulsory DNA extraction from citizens from birth.

"The conduct of a "search" requires probable cause and a warrant, or at the very least reasonable suspicion. DNA testing absolutely qualifies as a "search." [5] If there is no reason to conduct such a search, then the search is unjustified."

In my previous argument, I explained that without a DNA database, the police would have to use discriminatory dragnets such as searching and forceful warrants. In a case of a DNA database, no discrimination is involved and time is saved in searching innocent people. Furthermore, if your DNA matched one found in a crime scene, then there is very "reasonable suspicion".

__

3. Costs and Logistics

Your main points in this section were that implementing a DNA database would be very expensive. Firstly, let's summarise the basic advantages of having a DNA database.

1. Less criminals loose as more people are being convicted

This itself is saving tremendous money as less people/organisations such as banks are being robbed etc.

2. Less people will become criminals due to the improvement of police resources (ie. DNA database)

This will mean obviously that money will be saved from prison inmate costs, security etc. and money can be then used to fund things such as the DNA database and most importantly, any other important issues in a country (eg. education).

DNA can be easily extracted from new-born babies via the screening test (explained in Round 2) for blood samples as well as saliva and skin cells using perhaps an adhesive patch or other.

Another way to help launch a DNA database is for everybody to contribute some money (100 euro for example). Like I mentioned earlier, my motion is to implement this for new-born babies in order to ensure that it can be slowly built up rather than an entire country's population at once.


Conclusion

As you can see, a compulsory DNA database that includes non-felons is definitely just and would be an effective way not only to improve a country's justice system, but the entire country as a whole.


Thank you for reading!




Citations:
[1] http://www.yourgenome.org...

(same link as Round 2)
ThinkBig

Con

Crime

My opponent argues that a national DNA database would be a deterrent to crime and help solve crime. While it is true that DNA is extremely valuable in solving crime, bigger is not always better. A bigger DNA database would mean larger backlogs. Consequently, justice is often delayed. Emily Witt et al. write (1):

"At least 350,000 DNA samples from murder and rape cases remain untested, according to the federal government's best estimates. The story behind the DNA sample backlog — and the uptick in sample collection that is partially responsible — is one that we've been exploring for months, with investigations published in partnership with Politico, the Los Angeles Times and the Huffington Post Investigative Fund. There's no one cause for the surge in untested samples. But in May we detailed how much of it can be traced to new federal and state laws requiring DNA samples from people convicted of — or simply arrested for — nonviolent crimes, including shoplifting. Because of these laws, underfunded and understaffed crime labs are now flooded with DNA samples."

Indeed, as Dr. Samuel Baechtel writes (2):

"Personally I cannot imagine doing DNA typing on every person who is arrested or even every person who is indicted. People that suggest these things have probably not been near their local crime laboratory in a long time. We have our hands full just handling cases going to trial and getting the evidence out there to either exclude or include someone "

Indeed, when California expanded its DNA database to include all felons, the results were a 10-fold expansion in the database and a quadruple in the backlog. (3)

Indeed, in her book, Debra Wilson notes (4):

"While calls for a universal database are emotionally or intuitively appealing to society (and are likely intended to be so) this needs to be carefully considered before being implemented. It must be asked whether the calls for a universal database are because there is a genuine belief in such a database's ability to substantially reduce crime, or because this is an effective way to highlight a flawed system. The potential ethical, social, and resource issue argue persuasively against universality, particularly when it is considered that the potential benefits may not be significant."

So in conclusion, while DNA is certainly useful in solving crimes, it also leads to dangerous backlogs that delay justice and delay cases. The cons far outweigh the pros.

Human Rights

Pro writes "In most countries, for example the US, all new-born babies go through a screening test which involves testing a few drops of the baby's blood to ensure that it is healthy and that no disorders/diseases are present. This is definitely not 'invading their privacy' as the main intention of the test is for the best interests of the baby. The same theory can be applied to having a DNA database."

There is a fundamental difference between a DNA test on infants for diseases and genetic disords versus taking DNA and storing it in a database for future crimes.

Simoncelli notes (3):

"DNA data banks pose a number of significant individual privacy concerns in addition to those directly implicated by the Fourth Amendment. Unlike finger-prints -- two-dimensional representations of the physical attributes of our fingertips that can only be used for identification -- DNA samples can provide insights into personal family relationships, disease predisposition, physical attributes, and ancestry. Such information could be used in sinister ways and may include things the person herself does not wish to know. Repeated claims that human behaviors such as aggression, substance addiction, criminal tendency, and sexual orientation can be explained by genetics render law enforcement databases especially prone to abuse."

Derek Regensburger furhter notes (5):

"Civil Libertarians have thus characterized the creation of DNA databases as the computerized equivalent of an Orwellian Big Brother. They support DNA testing only in limited circumstances - as an investigatory tool when supported by probable cause and a warrant or as a means for convicted offenders to prove their innocence. Moreover, these critics allege that the state should not be able to indefinitely retain the DNA samples once collected because such permanent storage would substantially increase the risk that private medical information will be used for improper purposes."

I would contend that after an infant is given a DNA test, that DNA should be immediately distroyed for privacy reasons, unless consented to by the parents. The ACLU writes (6):

"[I]n all other cases, informed consent is required. This includes retaining newborn blood spots after completion of the screen and research use of the samples by states and third parties. Proceeding with such uses in the absence of express, informed consent is not only improper, but also risks undermining the public trust and goodwill upon which newborn screening programs depend."

Discrimination

As noted in the previous round, DNA is not always effective as not all crime scenes leave DNA evidence. Helen Wallace notes (7):

"DNA fingerprinting has undoubtedly become a useful tool in criminal investigations. However, it is important to distinguish between the role of DNA samples in a specific criminal investigation and the role of DNA databases in general. Databases are not required to provide evidence of guilt or innocence when there is a known group of suspects for a crime; a DNA sample can be taken from each individual and the DNA profile—a string of numbers based on specific areas of each individual's DNA—can be compared directly with the profile of a DNA sample from the crime scene. Provided the analysis avoids any errors, there is little cause for concern in using DNA samples in this way and there are significant benefits to criminal investigations. In practice, these comparisons are made using the database, by entering both the profile from the crime scene and the suspect's profile. However, looking for a DNA match among a known group of suspects for a specific crime does not require a database and, in particular, does not require DNA profiles to be retained after an investigation has been completed."

"[T]he number of cases that can be solved using DNA analysis will always be limited by the number of crime scenes from which DNA profiles can be collected and the need for corroborating evidence. The number of such profiles loaded into the NDNAD has increased significantly during the DNA Expansion Programme, particularly from scenes of volume crime, such as burglaries. However, in 2003/2004, the number of crimes yielding DNA either levelled off or decreased, depending on the type, indicating that the increase in the number of profiles might be at an end. It is unlikely that it will be possible to obtain DNA profiles from more than 1% of crime scenes for several reasons. For example, many types of crime do not have an obvious scene, DNA is simply not left at many crime scenes and not all DNA samples yield useable profiles. In theory, if everyone's profiles were in the NDNAD, the DNA match rate—the number of DNA matches per crime-scene sample—could increase to 100%. However, the DNA-detection rate or conviction rate would never be this high, because not all matches will lead to detections or convictions. A 50% detection rate could be achievable, compared with 40% today, leading, perhaps, to DNA detections for 0.5% of crimes. Yet given that the detection rate has not noticeably increased and a 50% DNA-detection rate might be difficult to reach, there seems to be a rapidly diminishing return from adding more individuals to the NDNAD"

Furthermore, there is always the risk of false positives. Thompson notes:

"People have been prosecuted based on cold hits to partial profiles. Defendants in cold-hit cases often face a difficult dilemma. In order to explain to the jury that the incriminating DNA match arose from a database search... Courts in some cold-hit cases have, at the urging of defense counsel, opted to leave the jury in the dark about the database search in order to avoid the implication of a criminal record. Jurors are told about the DNA match, but are not told how the match was discovered. The danger of this strategy is that jurors may underestimate the probability of a false incrimination because they assume the authorities must have had good reason to test the defendant's DNA in the first place. In other words, jurors may mistakenly assume the DNA test compared the crime scene sample to the DNA of a single individual who was already the focus of suspicion.

Conclusion

The compulsory inclusion of non-felons' DNA by any government database is unjust because of the risk of false positives. Furthermore, a universal DNA database causes an unnecessary burden on the labs and causes backlogs.

Out of characters.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...;
Debate Round No. 3
missmozart

Pro

Thank you ThinkBig! I will begin with my rebuttals first and then a summary of my main points.



Rebuttals

1. Crime

"A bigger DNA database would mean larger backlogs."

Here, I am going to state my full model for this debate:
A DNA database which includes non-felons should be implemented as soon as possible for all new-born babies in order to ensure that it can be slowly built up rather than an entire country's population at once. Slow build-up will also ensure that laboratories can be planned and built efficiently to suit future needs. Organisations such as the UN should then fund extensively into such databases and labs.

The reason why backlogs have been occurring and are in fact occurring right now is due to lack of investment into research and technology [1]. Backlogs are indeed terrible but all it implies is that governments should start to focus even more on improving and expanding their DNA databases in order to aid in crime solving.

"The cons far outweigh the pros."

Actually, my opponent is wrong here. As his own own source in Round 2 clearly states, "DNA databases (...) will be used ever more in the future..". If DNA databases are being invested on and used more everyday by many different countries, then it can only mean that the pros indeed far outweigh the cons and not the other way around. Even though it will definitely take a significant amount of money in capital to invest on a national DNA database, the profit obtained from such a project and investment will be huge in the long-term. Ray Wickenheiser, the NYSP Laboratory Director and the former director of the Montgomery County Police Department's Forensic Services Section says:

"Use of forensic DNA technology to associate individuals with crimes has produced a revolution in the way crimes are solved (...) The estimated cost to analyze all of the 366,460 reported sexual assault occurring in the U.S. per year is $366 Million (...) The estimated savings resulting from apprehending serial offenders early in their careers and thereby preventing future crimes is $12.9 Billion(...) The savings is 35.2 times the investment..."[2]


Therefore, a DNA database will not only help the police force in crime, but also improve the entire country as more money is being saved to invest on other important issues such as education and health.

___


2. Human Rights

"There is a fundamental difference between a DNA test on infants for diseases and genetic disords versus taking DNA and storing it in a database for future crimes."

Actually, the difference between a screening on a new-born baby and a DNA database is very little. Babies go through a DNA screening to (as you said) test for diseases and genetic disorders. The principal purpose of this is to ensure that they are safe and healthy. As with a DNA database, I have already proven and my opponent himself has even admitted that it is extremely useful in aiding crime investigations- "it is true that DNA is extremely valuable in solving crime". The principal purpose of a DNA database is to obviously, prevent crime and aid the police force in solving crime. All this is for the safety and sake of our society. Isn't that basically the same intention as the screening test? Therefore, there is not a fundamental difference between the two.

"DNA samples can provide insights into personal family relationships, disease predisposition, physical attributes, and ancestry."

While that is true, the private matters of an individual even today is not only known to themselves. For example, a doctor will know your disease predispositions and health, an accountant will know your financial situation etc. Both of my examples have to swear confidentiality. Failure to do so will result in extreme consequences, which we all know. Therefore, the same rules apply to a national DNA database.

"Civil Libertarians have thus characterized the creation of DNA databases as the computerized equivalent of an Orwellian Big Brother."

What an exaggeration! Orwell's Big Brother is basically a fearsome dictator who controls everything people do without letting them have a say in anything. DNA databases are kept in order to help the entire population and furthermore, everything will be completely confidential like the examples I mentioned above. Anyone who has read 1984 would find that statement vehemently amplified and untrue.

A DNA database should certainly not be considered as an "invasion of privacy" because all it is is a record of all citizens in order to help us. The fundamental purpose of it is not to investigate people's private information.


___

3. Discrimination

"As noted in the previous round, DNA is not always effective as not all crime scenes leave DNA evidence."

Yes, I agree that DNA is not always available in all crime scenes but it is indeed present in many:

"As of May 2016, CODIS has produced over 332,348 hits assisting in more than 318,824 investigations." [3]

"looking for a DNA match among a known group of suspects for a specific crime does not require a database"

Just to reiterate, without a DNA database, we are forced to use discriminatory dragnets which, because of bias (as explained in Round 2), can be inaccurate. Therefore, testing people's DNA if they are suspected of a crime is a slower process and can also annoy people if they are simply 'suspected' because of random reasons rather than the fact that their DNA was oddly found at a crime scene.

"It is unlikely that it will be possible to obtain DNA profiles from more than 1% of crime scenes for several reasons."

I am unable to view your source that is suppose to support that statement. However, I know this is the third time I'll have said it but I'll say it again: the National DNA Database in the UK helps to identify a suspect in 60% of criminal cases (source link in previous rounds).

"there is always the risk of false positives."

Yes, there will always be a risk. Nothing is perfect and this will always be considered. But a DNA database is no doubt an improvement as I have explained several times already. Therefore, do not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. We cannot deny the fact that even without DNA proof, innocent people are still being convicted accidentally. In the US, 4% of defendants sentenced to die are innocent [4].

___

Before I move on to my list of main points, I would like to say that my opponent has not yet explained what he meant by:

"DNA databases (...) will be used ever more in the future. As a result, Black and Latino teenagers (...) are also disproportionally at higher risk of being falsely suspected, accused and even convicted of more serious crimes."

This was likely a simple mistake that he either forgot or simply did not see it.

___


Main Points

1. DNA databases have proven to greatly help with crime
2. It is more effective than any alternative plan that we have
3. Without DNA databases, we only have discriminatory dragnets
4. DNA databases could eliminate discrimination in general
5. DNA databases will benefit the entire population despite 'harming' certain individuals
6. DNA databases are a good investment and will help a country in the long run
7. The police force needs to start using more sophisticated resources
8. There will be no 'invasion of privacy' as everything will be confidential


Conclusion

The compulsory inclusion of non-felon's DNA by any government database is certainly and without a doubt, just because of all of the reasons mentioned above. This is my last argument in this debate and due to character limits, I'm going to have to end it here.

Thank you for reading. Vote Pro!


I'd also like to thank my esteemed opponent for such a wonderful debate which I thoroughly enjoyed.


Citations:
[1] http://www.dnaforensics.com...
[2] http://victimsofcrime.org...
[3] https://www.fbi.gov...
[4] https://www.theguardian.com...




ThinkBig

Con

Many thanks to missmozart for a fun debate. You've been a superb opponent and have shown excellent conduct throughout this debate. Due to an ongoing sicknesss, I may not be able to respond to every point. I am scheduled to have surgery in two weeks.

1. DNA Databases are Ineffective

False Accusations

Pro quote mines my source. Pro writes:

"DNA databases (...) will be used ever more in the future..."

This only proves that DNA databases are good.

Here is the source in its entirety:

Despite the technical errors and errors of interpretation, DNA databases are now being used, and will be used ever more in the future, to identify suspects and to convict people. As a result, Black and Latino teenagers and young people who are disproportionately and unjustly arrested for marijuana possession and other misdemeanors are also disproportionally at higher risk of being falsely suspected, accused and even convicted of more serious crimes - and so are their genetically similar relatives."

The keywords here is the beginning phrase in which I highlighted. Furthermore, this debate is not about whether or not DNA databases are good. Rather, it is about whether or not expanding databases to the entire population is just.

Pro seemed to be rather confused about the last part of the source. Often times during a DNA database search, they will also do a familial search. This is basically a search in a DNA database for genetic information indicating a relative of a person they are seeking to identify. (1) "Because people of color are disproportionately stopped, searched and arrested, they will disproportionately bear the burden of this genetic dragnet. And because DNA samples can be used to establish family relationships, it has the potential to widen the surveillance to entire communities." (2)

Criminal Manipulation

Pro effectively concedes this point.

2. Presumption of Innocence

"Nobody is innocent or guilty until it is proven, just as Schrodinger's cat is neither dead or alive until the box is opened. However, I can see where your point is coming from. Therefore, I propose that felons' and non-felons' DNA should be kept in different sections and the felons' database should always be searched first to minimise any wrong claims. (...) My motion is that we should implement compulsory DNA extraction from citizens from birth."

Pro seems to misunderstand the presumption of innocence. The burden of proof rests solely upon the prosecution, not the defense, to prove that you committed a particular crime. If I were to accuse missmozart for murder, it would be my sole burden of proof to prove that she committed the murder. Until I prove that she is guilty, for all legal purposes, she is not guilty and should be considered to be entirely innocent of the said crime.

DNA databases not only undermine that innocence, but also shifts the burden of proof. Forensics DNA writes (3):

"Expanding DNA databases to include many persons who have merely been arrested represents a significant shift in which the line between guilty and innocent is becoming blurred. It undermines the presumption of innocence by treating people who have merely been arrested as somehow less innocent than others who have not been convicted of any offence. DNA databases also shift the burden of proof because people with records on them may be required to prove their innocence if a match occurs between their DNA profile and a crime scene DNA profile at some point in the future."

Pro's proposal to create two separate databases for felons and non-felons does little to affirm the assumption of innocnece, nor would it be effective in protecting them from false accusations.

"I explained that without a DNA database, the police would have to use discriminatory dragnets such as searching and forceful warrants. In a case of a DNA database, no discrimination is involved and time is saved in searching innocent people. Furthermore, if your DNA matched one found in a crime scene, then there is very "reasonable suspicion"."

Indeed, without a national DNA database, the police absolutely would have to use forceful warrants. This protects the innocent from being searched without cause and without a warrant.

3. Cost

I am rather confused as to pro's rebuttal to my arguments.

Conclusion
  1. (1) DNA databases are faulty
  2. (2) Criminals can easily manipulate DNA to throw off detectives
  3. (3) DNA databases are a poor investment and extremely costly.
  4. (4) DNA databases violate the fundamental right to the assumption of innocence and is an unwarranted search.
  5. (5) Privacy will always be a concern.
The compulsory inclusion of non-felon's DNA by any government database is certainly and without a doubt, unjust because of all of the reasons mentioned above. Once again, thank you for a phenomenal debate!

I urge a vote for con!

Sources

1. http://criminal.findlaw.com...;
2. hthttps://www.thenation.com...;
3. http://dnapolicyinitiative.org...;

Debate Round No. 4
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: Death23// Mod action: Removed<

0 points awarded. Reasons for voting decision: test

[*Reason for removal*] Test votes are currently being removed. The voter may re-cast his vote at any time, and the removal will not count against him.
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Posted by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
Still working on RFD, I'll have it done soon.
Posted by ThinkBig 1 year ago
ThinkBig
Thank you @Nivek!!
Posted by Nivek 1 year ago
Nivek
I'll try to put in a vote in a day or two.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
I didn't hear about it.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
Whiteflame, did BoT or Airmax tell you about the discussion I had with them re: tied votes?
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: Diqiucun_Cunmin// Mod action: Removed<

0 points awarded. Reasons for voting decision: Casting a temporary, tied vote to remind me to make a final decision later.

[*Reason for removal*] With any vote, a voter is required to provide some form of feedback to the debaters, even if they aren't awarding points. This means that placeholder votes like this are not sufficient.
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Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: RoyLatham// Mod action: NOT Removed<

5 points to Pro (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: A fine debate, well researched and well argued by both sides. Pro won the point over solving crimes, because Con did not have a good answer to the "60%" statistic. (I'll put my suggestion in comments.) Con had some advantage in the privacy argument, but Pro had enough of a response to keep it from being decisive, saying that the data would be kept secret. (She could have upped that by requiring a warrant.) Con's argument that more evidence meant more possibility of mistaken evidence is wrong because that argument applies to every type of evidence, as Pro implicitly argued. The cost issue could have been decisive, but since Pro's "60% solved" argument stood up, the savings from solved crimes was greater than the cost. (The cited cost of clearing the backlog was 10x too high; it used $1K per test rather than $100.) I gave Pro the edge in sources, because the 60% number was the main factor in the win, and was not overcome by counter sources.

[*Reason for non-removal*] Both argument and source points are sufficiently explained.
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Posted by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
Con only uses sources, and quotes, no actual arguments...
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 1 year ago
Diqiucun_Cunmin
I've decided on the wins and losses with regards to Pro's arguments, but Con's arguments (well, at least the first one) are relatively hard to analyse...
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
missmozartThinkBigTied
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Reasons for voting decision: http://www.debate.org/forums/debate.org/topic/90878/
Vote Placed by Diqiucun_Cunmin 1 year ago
Diqiucun_Cunmin
missmozartThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14BvuCuOHxLBRo54_n-oBMIDgdsdfM1MfnpGtwjrwDbA/edit
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 1 year ago
RoyLatham
missmozartThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: A fine debate, well researched and well argued by both sides. Pro won the point over solving crimes, because Con did not have a good answer to the "60%" statistic. (I'll put my suggestion in comments.) Con had some advantage in the privacy argument, but Pro had enough of a response to keep it from being decisive, saying that the data would be kept secret. (She could have upped that by requiring a warrant.) Con's argument that more evidence meant more possibility of mistaken evidence is wrong because that argument applies to every type of evidence, as Pro implicitly argued. The cost issue could have been decisive, but since Pro's "60% solved" argument stood up, the savings from solved crimes was greater than the cost. (The cited cost of clearing the backlog was 10x too high; it used $1K per test rather than $100.) I gave Pro the edge in sources, because the 60% number was the main factor in the win, and was not overcome by counter sources.
Vote Placed by Amedexyius 1 year ago
Amedexyius
missmozartThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by 42lifeuniverseverything 1 year ago
42lifeuniverseverything
missmozartThinkBigTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Terrific job both of you.