This November, attorney Sarah Toney attended a Hands-On DNA Analysis for Lawyers class in Boise, Idaho. Presented by Dr. Greg Hampikian and attorneys Josh D. Lee, Katy Kennedy, and Justin J. McShane, this was the first seminar of its kind. Dr. Hampikian is an international DNA expert who testified in the first Amanda Knox trial regarding the DNA in that case. The course was held at his lab at Boise State, and this was an intensive no-frills course spanning about more than 20 hours in the lab.
The 3-day training program trained attorney Toney and other DUI and criminal defense lawyers in the technical and scientific aspects of DNA withdrawal, analysis and usage. Specifically, the lawyers learned the proper methods for DNA collection, even testing themselves, so that they would understand the complexities involved when DNA from their clients is taken and analyzed in criminal cases. It then covered in detail the statistical analysis required in order to analyze DNA.
It is through this knowledge and understanding that attorney Sarah Toney and other DUI and criminal defense attorneys can protect and defend their clients, ensuring that medical and crime labs used in their clients' cases are properly testing and assessing their clients' blood and DNA. The legal system requires specific, complex procedures to be met in order to ensure results are accurate, and if the procedures are not followed, then the results cannot be trusted. It is often up to defense attorneys to check and confirm whether these procedures were met, for if not, they can challenge the truth of the results and at times have them declared untrustworthy and therefore not usable in the case against a defendant.
Attorney Sarah Toney is one of the few attorneys throughout the country to undergo such rigorous training. She believes in understanding the medical and technical aspects of her cases, as well as the legal aspects, so that she can provide her clients the best representation possible.