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Name: People v. Wilson
Case #: A101459
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/16/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 2/16/05: S130157

The relevant group for determining DNA match probabilities is the population of possible suspects, not the perpetrator’s racial group. A defendant convicted of murder and attempted rape challenged his conviction on appeal by arguing that the court erred in admitting DNA evidence without requiring the prosecution to establish the perpetrator’s racial background in order to lay a foundation for the DNA probability testimony. The Court of Appeal affirmed, declining to follow the holding in People v. Pizarro (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 530. The court first distinguished Pizarro by noting that in the case at bar, the record contained no suggestion that the databases used by the DNA expert for calculating profile frequencies was chosen based on the defendant or victim’s racial background. Further, the court disagreed with the Pizarro court’s insistence that the database used to calculate the profile frequency be drawn from the perpetrator’s racial group, because the relevant inquiry is the likelihood of a match in the population of potential suspects, not in a particular racial group.