December 5, 2013

"A judge says an Army artillery officer linked by DNA to a string of sexual assaults on young girls..."

"... will be allowed to blame his twin brother at trial for attacks in two states."

Identical twin, of course.

18 comments:

mccullough said...

I am my brother's alibi.

tim maguire said...

I can't think of a reason why he wouldn't be able to make that argument given that the prosecution can't meet its burden without showing that it wasn't the twin brother.

His parents should sell tickets to the next family gathering.

The Drill SGT said...

good luck with that in front of a jury.

MadisonMan said...

It seems to me that a good way to frame someone would be to steal their DNA -- some sexual romp, for example, maybe blood -- and then smear it all over the crime scene.

In the present case, given there's a 50/50 chance that the state has the wrong person, I'd say that's reasonable enough doubt. I can see why the prosecutors wouldn't want it admitted!

Tank said...

Isn't it likely that his brother will have a good "alibi" for one or more of these instances. whereas he will not?

John said...

Why shouldn't he be? Isn't it possible that its true? Whether it is or not, I don't know. But I would think any case involving an identical twin and DNA would necessarily implicate both twins. If the guy can create reasonable doubt that it was his twin, he should be acquitted. I don't see why this is anything but the right and expected decision.

heyboom said...

The article says that the twin brother lived in two of the states where assaults took place. I would think if the accused brother can alibi out of being in those places during the time the attacks took place that it would exonerate him.

heyboom said...

The article says that the twin brother lived in two of the states where assaults took place. I would think if the accused brother can alibi out of being in those places during the time the attacks took place that it would exonerate him.

Ann Althouse said...

Seems to me that it's obvious that if the prosecutor is putting in DNA evidence that someone with an identical twin must be allowed to show that the DNA is far less probative than usual. The prosecutor can still meet the burden of proof with other evidence, both about the defendant and about his twin.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Of course he can. Why is this controversial? This can't be the first defendant with a twin.

Matthew Sablan said...

If this were a riveting crime drama, the truth would be that BOTH brothers had assaulted different victims, making it next to impossible to determine who attacked who.

madAsHell said...

Wouldn't they both exhibit the same behavior??

If you follow the link provided in the HuffPo article, then you find this:

The decorated artillery officer became a suspect when he was spotted at a Fountain playground by an officer investigating reports of a stranger targeting young girls.

Who is to say these brothers aren't working together?

Henry said...

MM wrote: It seems to me that a good way to frame someone would be to steal their DNA -- some sexual romp, for example, maybe blood -- and then smear it all over the crime scene.

It's made the crime novels at least.

Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent.

madAsHell said...

Hmmm....Mr. Sablan beat me by a minute.

So....here's the next question: Because of the identical DNA, do we need to prosecute BOTH brothers at the same time??

Crimso said...

I think it's likely that if you look hard enough, you could distinguish between identical twins in terms of biological samples. Just because they both start from the same fertilized egg doesn't necessarily mean they are identical down to the nucleotide level. But, as opposed to the usual method of DNA profiling, you might have to look at actual gene sequences to spot a difference (and the difference would need to be a mutation that randomly occurred relatively early in development). Out of the 20,000+ genes comprising tens of millions of base pairs of genetic information, you could estimate the chance such a mutation exists and see whether it is remotely feasible to find any such difference.

Another possibility would be to look for viral DNA sequences that one twin carries but the other one doesn't.

Some day transcriptomics and metabolomics will be advanced enough to be used for forensics, and there's more of a chance to find differences between identical twins there.

Alex said...

The most likely explanation is they're working together.

YoungHegelian said...

I guess we can definitely say that this is not a "bros before hos" bonding moment.

jimbino said...

Do we still have the "beyond a reasonable doubt" theory around here?

If so, the accused need not blame his twin brother of anything, but only sow the seeds of doubt that follow from his mere existence.

50% probability is not "beyond a reasonable doubt." Nor is 60% and maybe not even 90%.

Thank Darwin, the State still has to make its case, last time I looked.