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In DNA Ruling, a Cruel Blow to Scriptwriters


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:30 AM

From today's NY Times:

 

 

Do Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and John G. Roberts Jr. not own televisions?

 

Those are the Supreme Court justices who on Monday made up the majority of a 5-to-4 decision that gives the police broad power to grab a DNA sample from a suspect in a serious crime. Never mind the issues of unreasonable search and privacy that the decision raises. What about its effect on TV crime shows?

 

[more]


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#2 OFFLINE   photostudent

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:54 AM

We will just laugh when we see reruns where they have to sneak samples of DNA.



#3 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:55 AM

Not too many shows have a problem with suspending reality or merely stretching it.... :evilgrin:


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#4 OFFLINE   fleckrj

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:12 AM

The fact that they get the DNA analyses back within a few hours already suspends reality.



#5 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 09:46 AM

Ah, well, things are not like they used to be.

 

From this 2012 article DNA machine can sequence human genomes in hours:

 

A UK firm spun out from Oxford University has come up with a DNA sequencing machine the size of a USB memory stick, a move that is set to revolutionise the industry....

 

Oxford Nanopore has spent the last three years developing the machines in secrecy in collaboration with scientists at Harvard and University of California Santa Cruz. The devices are based on DNA "strand sequencing", and could be launched as soon as the second half of the year.

 

One of the machines, known as GridION, is the size of a DVD player. They can be stacked and plugged into each other to increase the speed. The other sequencer - the "MinION" which is expected to cost less than $900 (£569) - is as small as a USB memory stick.

 

And then there's this April 2013 article Teenage scientist builds DNA machine to find out why his brother has ginger hair:

 

Fred Turner, 17, was determined to find a scientific explanation for the fact that his locks are straight and brown while 14-year-old Gus has ginger curls.

So he spent almost a year building the complex equipment – called a Polymerase Chain Reaction machine – using bits and bobs he found around his home, including an old video recorder.

 

I can remember when building a crystal radio set was a big deal for a kid....

 

Anyway, there's this from Autogen:

 

 

The QuickGene-Mini80 is built by FujiFilm Life Sciences and offered in North America by AutoGen. This is a compact personal extraction system for rapid isolation of DNA or RNA from a variety of samples. ...The QuickGene-Mini80 processes 8 samples in 15 minutes, saving valuable time and labor in your lab....

 

banner_mini80.gif

 

 

 

 

So if your local police department doesn't want to mess with "bits and bobs" to assemble their own machine, they can buy one.


Edited by phrelin, 05 June 2013 - 09:56 AM.

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#6 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:20 AM

Nice finds, phrelin! 

 

I won't stop until I perfect a DNA analyzer that's not only fast, it can sample without touching the, uh, suspect. It'll use some combo of radar, sonar, infrared, and a materializer similar to the one on Star Trek, but much smaller. 


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#7 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:29 PM

Future Watch

 

For the singles dating scene, first date: a quick kiss, then a subtle touch to ones lips then to a smart phone's internet-connected DNA analysis app will instantly and secretly yield to the user the following information: credit rating, criminal history, mental stability, financial statement, health status, sperm count and genetic suitability for biological parenthood.

 

It's coming.


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#8 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 01:39 PM

It should also include information how recently the suspect, I mean potential date, has had sex, with whom, and was it fully satisfactory. Also, gotta have the ovary check for soundness if you're doing a sperm count.


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#9 OFFLINE   tsmacro

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 02:52 PM

You really want to make a zillion dollars? Create a small scanner that you can quickly scan a person and see if they have any STD's, you can stock them in stores next to the condoms or for that matter put them in vending machines in nightclubs.




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#10 OFFLINE   russ9

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:45 PM

Future Watch

 

For the singles dating scene, first date: a quick kiss, then a subtle touch to ones lips then to a smart phone's internet-connected DNA analysis app will instantly and secretly yield to the user the following information: credit rating, criminal history, mental stability, financial statement, health status, sperm count and genetic suitability for biological parenthood.

 

It's coming.

Well that should cut down on population growth. And second dates, for that matter.


Edited by russ9, 05 June 2013 - 10:46 PM.

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#11 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:04 AM

While the Supreme Court just ruled in favor of this, it has actually been going on for a quite a while. Most states require DNA swabbing for violent felonies at the time of arrest. And it's not like that swab gets put in the system, there's an instant match, and the suspect is now charged with a new crime. If gets put in the system and if a match occurs, the detective that submitted the original sample is notified, but it could be a few weeks. The detective then needs to write a search warrant for a DNA sample from the suspect to compare directly to the original sample. That comparison will take a few weeks at least.


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#12 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 04:45 PM

I'm not connecting the dots here.  What does a Court ruling have to do with TV scriptwriting for a fictional show?


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#13 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:10 PM

I'm not connecting the dots here.  What does a Court ruling have to do with TV scriptwriting for a fictional show?


The previous interpretation of the law was that the authorities could not compel a DNA sample. So in many fictional shows they showed detectives and investigators getting DNA via sneaky methods ... for example, offering their interview suspect a drink and then saving the cup for DNA testing. Some criminals on shows have been portrayed as avoiding such traps.

The ruling will allow authorities to compel ... so the need to be sneaky goes away. The thought is that shows that show sneaky investigators will be mocked - why be sneaky when you can compel? Especially in shows where they explain via dialog that they cannot compel DNA and they have to be sneaky.
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#14 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:06 PM

Heh. It could be a flashback!! 


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#15 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:11 PM

... for example, offering their interview suspect a drink and then saving the cup for DNA testing. Some criminals on shows have been portrayed as avoiding such traps.
 

Well, that wasn't fiction.  That happened in some real cases.


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#16 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 09:32 PM

The previous interpretation of the law was that the authorities could not compel a DNA sample. So in many fictional shows they showed detectives and investigators getting DNA via sneaky methods ... for example, offering their interview suspect a drink and then saving the cup for DNA testing. Some criminals on shows have been portrayed as avoiding such traps.

The ruling will allow authorities to compel ... so the need to be sneaky goes away. The thought is that shows that show sneaky investigators will be mocked - why be sneaky when you can compel? Especially in shows where they explain via dialog that they cannot compel DNA and they have to be sneaky.


Just to clarify, the ability to compel is when the subject is arrested. Either consent or a search warrant is still needed if someone is just a suspect and is not under arrest.


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#17 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 07:20 PM

Just to clarify, the ability to compel is when the subject is arrested. Either consent or a search warrant is still needed if someone is just a suspect and is not under arrest.


That should help with most shows where they are being sneaky and have not arrested the suspect. Brought in for questioning and arrested can be a fine line. I'm sure that in real life investigators will continue to use discarded DNA in the same ways as the fictional shows have shown investigators using it.
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#18 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 05:10 AM

From today's New York Times:

 

Slowly, and largely under the radar, a growing number of local law enforcement agencies across the country have moved into what had previously been the domain of the F.B.I. and state crime labs — amassing their own DNA databases of potential suspects, some collected with the donors’ knowledge, and some without it.

 

And that trend — coming at a time of heightened privacy concerns after recent revelations of secret federal surveillance of telephone calls and Internet traffic — is expected only to accelerate after the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding a Maryland statute allowing the authorities to collect DNA samples from those arrested for serious crimes.

 

[more]

 

 


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