SF Presents

SF Presents - DNA and Cold Cases: From Crime Scene to Courtroom




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This webinar may depict crime scenes and criminal evidence of a violent or sexual nature through crime scene photos and evidence reports and therefore is intended only for adults and children supervised by a guardian.

TV shows like CSI give viewers a glimpse of how investigators solve crimes using DNA and other forensic tools, all wrapped up in an hour. What these shows skip over is important: the evolution of DNA technology. DNA completely changed the way law enforcement investigates crime. Now we can prove beyond any doubt whose DNA was left at a crime scene. Highly sensitive technology allows us to develop forensic DNA profiles from vanishingly small samples. A national and international network of DNA databases results in "cold hits" that link previously unknown perpetrators to cases, exonerate the innocent and bring justice to victims.

Mourges will use real cold cases, including homicides and rapes, to demonstrate how this forensic revolution solves crimes and changes lives.


Melissa Mourges is a career prosecutor who has spent almost 40 years at the Manhattan District Attorney's office investigating and bringing rape, homicide and other serious felony cases to trial. Currently, she is chief of the forensic sciences/cold case unit. She acts as a liaison between the 500 prosecutors in her office and their forensic labs, including the forensic pathology and biology labs of New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner and the NYPD crime scene unit, ballistics, controlled substances, latent fingerprint, and criminalistics labs. When Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance devoted over $38 million to test the nationwide backlog of untested rape kits, Mourges helped design and administer that project. She also prosecuted hundreds of cold cases from the nation's first rape kit backlog, funded by the NYPD in 2000, where over 17,000 kits from evidence storage were tested. Mourges is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a graduate of Albany Law School and Binghamton University.


3:45 - 4:00 pm ET Webinar waiting room opens
4:00 - 5:00 pm ET Talk + Q&A

Registration is required for this free event.

Further instructions and access to join the webinar will be sent to all registrants upon sign up.

Inquiries: sfpresents@simonsfoundation.org