With the development of new technologies, DNA evidence continues to play an important role in criminal cases, especially in cases involving allegations of violent crime such as sexual assault. In the United States, DNA evidence has been used to exonerate 321 individuals who were convicted. This number is utterly tragic, given that 13.6 years is the average prison sentence that DNA exonerees have served.
DNA evidence has had a profound effect on the criminal justice system. In Missouri and across the country, many people have been exonerated after new evidence made available in the last two decades showed their convictions were wrongful.
The availability of DNA evidence has dramatically affected criminal appeals in Missouri and across the country. It has made it much easier to challenge convictions, as the evidence from DNA has shown that other evidence used to obtain convictions, including eyewitness evidence, can be wrong.