Jacob Duran CaseRenae Simmonds
Monroe College
Jacob Duran CaseA lawyer for a New Mexico man who has been locked up for 30 years said new DNA test comes about may have demonstrated he’s innocent. Jacob Duran, presently 67, was indicted in 1987 of shooting Teofilia Gradi within the back of the head execution-style in her North Valley home after she was assaulted and victimized on Dec. 19, 1986. The disclosure of the body was by Gradi’s daughter, Anita Bush. Gradi was found on the floor of kitchen, with her head in a pool of blood, whereas Christmas foods she had been planning burned on the stove. Mr. Duran was a handy man for Ms. Gradi. An observer told detectives Duran looked just like the man he saw hopping the victim’s fence the night of the shooting. Police never found the murder weapon. Be that as it may, they did discover a hair on Gradi’s body that was comparable to Duran’s (Lucero, 2017). It was famous at trial that Mr. Duran had streaky hair so that’s why we inquired for the grey hair to be tried,” said Gordon Rahn, Chief of the New Mexico Innocence and Equity Program. Duran’s case has been within the hands of the New Mexico Innocence and Equity Venture since 2013. In 2015, the group inquired a judge to review Duran’s case, this time utilizing unused innovation to test DNA evidence from the crime scene. Particularly, what was found beneath the victim’s fingernails and a hair found on her body. “So far, everything we have been able to test has prohibited Mr. Duran,” Rhan said. “What the DNA testing does, is essentially nullifies the expert declaration given by the two state’s specialists. One who had said that blood found at the crime scene might not prohibit Jacob Duran as the source. DNA testing has prohibited him as a source of that. The same is true of a hair that was found at the crime scene.” (Lucero, 2017)
How was DNA used to solve, exonerate or support the Jacob Duran Case?
Many have asked what is DNA? DNA could be a person’s hereditary makeup—their innate diagram passed on by their parents. Each state within the country contains a DNA database that permits for the collection of DNA profiles from guilty parties sentenced of specific violations. CODIS program empowers state, local, and national law enforcement crime research facilities to compare DNA profiles electronically, subsequently connecting serial violations to each other and distinguishing suspects by coordinating DNA profiles from crime scenes with profiles from sentencing guilty parties. DNA can either be use to solve a crime, exonerate or support a case. In the case of Jacob Duran DNA was used to exonerate him. In 1987 two state experts stated that the DNA found under the victim’s fingernails which was blood could not exclude him as a suspect due to the fact that they both share the same blood type (Scott Sandlin | Journal Staff Writer, n.d.). However, recently with new technology DNA evidence was retested and Mr. Duran was exonerated from all charges after serving 30 years in prison.

Did DNA affect the outcome of Jacob Duran case?
In the case of Jacob Duran, DNA did however affect the outcome of the case. Reason being, if DNA was not presented and tested Mr. Duran would have to serve all of his sentence. It also affects the outcome of the case in the begin because if DNA was not present an innocent man would not have been incarcerated. In addition, if the DNA was properly tested to begin with then he would not have been convicted and indicted.
How has DNA changed the criminal justice system in New Mexico?
Within the final decade, DNA examination has gotten to be a mainstay of the criminal justice system—the gold standard for distinguishing proof. In New Mexico DNA testing is the key in targeting crimes. The lawmakers state that base on the numbers DNA testing is able to identify who is driving crime and just be there to be prosecuted (“Prosecutor tells New Mexico lawmakers: ‘You have to act now? on criminal justice reform,” 2017). In New Mexico a Criminal Justice reform subcommittee was created and also the New Mexico Innocence and Justice Program was created to help change the criminal justice system.

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Were there any controversies regarding the use of DNA within the Jacob Duran case?
In August 1987, members of the jury were told that a hair found at the scene of Teofilia Gradi’s murdering was “microscopically identical” to Duran’s but cutting-edge DNA testing has since uncovered that the hair was not his and may have had a place to the casualty Katy Barnitz | Journal Staff Writer, 2017). An expert witness affirmed that the characteristics of the blood found on the fingernail clippings were consistent with both Duran’s and Gradi’s DNA. But a modern test found Gradi’s fingernail clippings did not contain any male DNA. If mitochondrial DNA tests are needed, the samples must be sent out of state – and neither the state nor APD was willing to pay for that. (Katy Barnitz | Journal Staff Writer, 2017) )Conclusion
Duran was charged with the felony murder of Teofilia Gradi, 64, at her home on Dec. 19, 1986, disclosure of the body by Gradi’s daughter, Anita Bush. Gradi was found on the floor of kitchen, with her head in a pool of blood, whereas Christmas foods she had been planning burned on the stove. DNA evidence was use to indict Mr. Duran because blood and hair on the victim pointed towards him as a suspect. However, with new technology after serving 30 years in prison Jacob Duran was exonerated base on the results of retested DNA that proved he was not the right person. DNA evidence testing needs to be done every year once a person has been convicted. Reason being, it will limit the time a person spent in prison for wrongful convictions.
Judges Agrees to New DNA Testing in Jacob Duran’s Case – The Innocence Network. (2015, October 16). Retrieved from http://innocencenetwork.org/judges-agrees-to-new-dna-testing-in-jacob-durans-case/
Katy Barnitz | Journal Staff Writer. (2017, December 13). Discredited evidence debated. Retrieved from https://www.abqjournal.com/1106469/discredited-evidence-debated.html?utm_source=abqjournal.com&utm_medium=related+posts+-+crime&utm_campaign=related+posts
Lucero, M. (2017, January 10). Attorney: DNA results rule out client from 1986 murder conviction. Retrieved from https://www.krqe.com/news/attorney-dna-results-exclude-client-from-1986-murder-conviction/900233902
Prosecutor tells New Mexico lawmakers: ‘You have to act now? on criminal justice reform. (2017, September 27). Retrieved from https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2017/09/27/prosecutor-tells-new-mexico-lawmakers-you-have-act-now-criminal-justice-reform/711025001/
Scott Sandlin | Journal Staff Writer. (n.d.). New DNA testing OK’d in ’86 murder. Retrieved from https://www.abqjournal.com/660642/new-dna-testing-okd-in-86-murder.html


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