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TrueAllele wins more Georgia admissibility challenges

Douglasville, GA

On July 25, 2017, Douglas County police arrested Adedoja Bah on charges of rape and battery. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conducted TrueAllele® probabilistic genotyping testing of DNA evidence from vaginal and facial swabs. Defendant Bah, who is not a United States citizen, moved to exclude the DNA evidence.

On October 16, 2019, an evidentiary hearing was held in Douglas County Superior Court on whether "TrueAllele in general, and as applied to the specific testing performed in this case" was admissible under Georgia's Harper standard.

GBI Forensic Biology Crime Laboratory Scientist Ashley Hinkle testified "to her work in the case." Then, GBI Forensic Biology Technical Leader Emily Schmidt testified "to the TrueAllele system in general, and the GBl's validation of the software and implementation of the system."

Schmidt testified that, "True Allele has been independently validated four times by the GBI" on the basis of sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility. Between GBI and other groups, over thirty-six TrueAllele validation studies have been performed, establishing the system's reliability. Eight of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Additionally, Schmidt testified that, "True Allele (as well as the operating of the software by the GBI) complies with the FBI's quality assurance standards, and the guidelines established by the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM)." Moreover, Schmidt testified "to protocols implemented by the GBI to address error rates."

"The mathematics in TrueAllele are a combination of two concepts," wrote the judge: "Bayesian statistics and the Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm, that have been used since the 1700's and the 1950's, respectively."

Ruling from the bench, Judge Cynthia Adams found the TrueAllele system to be admissible under the Harper standard. After considering the evidence, the Court ruled "that TrueAllele's probabilistic genotyping system has reached the stage of veritable certainty."

In a separate Harper hearing in Georgia's Tifton Judicial Circuit, on October 23 TrueAllele was admitted into evidence after challenge by defendant Nathaniel Day. GBI Technical Leader Schmidt testified at that hearing. On October 28, Day pleaded guilty to felony murder in the shooting death of Tift County Akhtar Perveez, a storekeeper regarded for his generosity and kindness.

TrueAllele has now been admitted as reliable evidence in Georgia in six Harper hearings, and after Daubert challenge in federal court.

Cybergenenetics' powerful TrueAllele probabilistic genotyping technology can accurately analyze DNA mixtures containing up to ten unknown people. TrueAllele eliminates the human bias and subjectivity inherent in other genotyping software.

TrueAllele automation frees DNA analysts from the time-consuming burden of picking input data and choosing parameter settings. Instead, the computer calculates accurate DNA match results without human intervention.

Douglas County Judge Adams noted that, "TrueAllele was used to identify remains in the World Trade Center disaster." The system "was part of the basis to grant Johnny Lee Gates a new trial in Muscogee Superior Court in January 2019 by way of an extraordinary motion for new trial."

After observing how TrueAllele is often used by prosecutors, the judge wrote, "Greater still, in one hundred and ten times, TrueAllele has assisted the defense, at trial and during post-conviction proceedings, resulting in acquittals and exonerations."

TrueAllele has withstood twenty-seven admissibility challenges in the United States, and two more overseas. Appellate courts in three states have affirmed.

Cybergenetics invented the probabilistic genotyping technology twenty years ago. The company holds patents filed in 2000 and 2001.


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