The Social and Legal Construction of Suspects

Posted: 18 Oct 2010

See all articles by Simon A. Cole

Simon A. Cole

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Michael Lynch

Cornell University - Department of Science and Technology Studies

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

DNA profiling and searchable databases enhance the ability of policing organizations to search for criminal suspects. In many respects, these technologies are incorporated within traditions of police work, supplementing familiar "subjective" methods of constructing suspects. In other ways, however, the construction of DNA databases in Britain, the United States, and elsewhere shifts criminal investigation toward suspect populations and statistical suspects. Not only is DNA evidence used to confirm that a criminal suspect is the source of crime scene evidence, it can be used to search freely through a suspect population for a possible source of such evidence. This method, commonly known as database trawling, comprises a new way of constructing suspects, one that bears close connections with new data mining technologies for prospectively identifying terrorist suspects.

Suggested Citation

Cole, Simon A. and Lynch, Michael, The Social and Legal Construction of Suspects (December 2006). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 2, pp. 39-60, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1693698 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.lawsocsci.2.081805.110001

Simon A. Cole (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697
949-824-1443 (Phone)
949-824-3001 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.seweb.uci.edu/faculty/cole/

Michael Lynch

Cornell University - Department of Science and Technology Studies ( email )

306 Rockeffeler Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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