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Name: People v. Johnson
Case #: F046939
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/25/2006

Kelly-Frye requirements do not apply to DNA cold hit evidence. Five years after a sexual assault, the victim’s examination kit was sent to a DNA laboratory. The sample was analyzed for DNA, and since there was no suspect, the results were sent to a national DNA database. The criminalist received a “cold hit” on appellant, who was a state prisoner. A sample was obtained from appellant, and it matched the DNA in the kit. Appellant moved unsuccessfully to suppress the DNA evidence, and was convicted of rape. The appellate court affirmed. The technique at issue here is not new to science or the law. The database search merely provided law enforcement with an investigative tool, not evidence of guilt. As such, the Kelly-Frye requirements do not apply, and the trial court did not err by admitting the evidence. Further, retrieval of a DNA sample from appellant did not violate his rights under the Fourth Amendment.