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Ex Parte Perry v. State
Alabama Supreme Court
586 So. 2d 242 (1991)
Waylon Dwight Perry (defendant) was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the 1988 murder of Bryce Wallace. Wallace was strangled in his home. Police found bloodstains on Wallace’s clothing and the home’s front doorknob (the bloodstains). The government (plaintiff) hired a company called Lifecodes Corporation to perform DNA testing. At trial, Perry objected to the admission of DNA-test evidence. Joanne Squeglia, a Lifecodes employee, testified about the procedures she used to compare DNA from the bloodstains to Perry’s DNA. Dr. Kevin McElfresh, the assistant manager of Lifecodes’ forensics laboratory, testified (1) about Lifecodes’ normal DNA-analysis procedures, (2) that the DNA from the bloodstains matched Perry’s DNA and (3) that the probability of finding similarly matching DNA was about one in 209 million. Perry appealed, arguing that the trial court had erred by admitting the DNA evidence without first holding an admissibility hearing, because DNA testing was a novel type of scientific evidence in Alabama courts and could possibly produce flawed results. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. The Alabama Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)
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