- This article appears in Law, Probability, and Risk,
September-December 2004, vol. 3, nos. 3-4, pp. 211-220.
- The publisher, Oxford University Press, insists that the sole Internet access to the full text of this
article be via its website.
The concept of relevance is fundamental to the law of evidence. A
California court of appeals recently invoked this concept to deem
inadmissible estimates of the relative frequency of an incriminating DNA
type in major racial groups and computations relating to a mixture of DNA
from more than one person. This article shows that these statistics are
relevant evidence because they help the factfinder assess the significance
of matching DNA types under various hypotheses that might be entertained
about the origin of the DNA samples.
Key Words: evidence; relevance; DNA evidence; race and ethnicity;
interpretation of mixed stains