20 Years' Imprisonment
#Failing to Preserve Evidence #Misapplication of Forensic Science #Unlawful Interrogation
In 1993, [Lu, Chin-Kai] and the co-defendant [Chen, Hsi-Ching] were charged for forced rape and murder of a female college student. The forensic officer collected semen at the crime scene and had the DNA tested by Department of Investigation, Ministry of Justice. The HLA DQ α test result indicated that DNA evidence is “consistent with Lu’s DNA and is not inconsistent with Chen’s DNA.” The forensic officer visually estimated that the amount of semen was approximately 20c.c. and concluded that there were more than one perpetuator committed the crime.
During the seventh remanded trial in 2006, the court ordered the criminal police department to perform a more sophisticated STR test to re-identify the perpetuator. The test result proved that the semen collected at the crime scene was from Chen solely, not from Lu. However, Lu had already given up appeal after the sixth remanded trial. He was held guilty despite the later sophisticated DNA test proved otherwise.
In the past, DNA test used HLA DQ α identification method, which had an accuracy rate of up to 90%. In other words, although one genotype matches, there is still on error of one tenth, which may lead to a wrongful conviction. However, the recent STR test uses 16 Y-STR loci and is more accurate. The probability for two persons to have 16 groups of identical genotype is 1018 — the equivalent of one in a million trillion. During the 13 years of hearing trial, there was no sophisticated DNA test performed.
This case also involved the issue of torture-tainted confession.
Group of attorneys has petitioned for retrial at the High Court in Taiwan in 2013. The petition was dismissed in May 2014.
Attorneys are in the discussion of rescue strategy.