State of Vermont v A Passino
Passino was on trial for homicide.
His defence established that his paternal grandparents were Italian, his maternal grandfather was native American and his maternal grandmother was half French and half Native American. On this basis the defence was able to have the DNA profile calculations ruled inadmissible because they were not based on a sample of people with the same racial heritage as Mr Passino.
Weir and Evett (1992) pointed out the lack of logic in this since the defence hypothesis was that the crime sample was not from Mr Passino, and therefore his racial background was immaterial. We agree with Lewontin (1993), who noted that the circumstances of the crime suggested that the offender may have been a member of the Abnaki tribe of Native Americans, although this still does not require account to be taken of Mr Passino’s pedigree.