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John Doe DNA Case Filings/Warrants




Below are rulings involving the use of "John Doe" DNA warrants used to file a criminal case. When the name of the individual is not known, a "John Doe" DNA warrant/complaint may be filed. The DNA profile of the perpetrator, provided by the evidence in the investigation, is used as the unique identifier describing the defendant, instead of his or her name. Such a filing prevents the running of the statute of limitations in serious violent crimes. (See: Gahn Article and Gahn2 ).  If you know of any recent decisions regarding "John Doe" DNA warrants please contact us so we can include copies of the rulings here

  1. Wisconsin v. Dabney , Circuit Court, Milwaukee County, Case No. 00CF-005987 (8/31/01). dabney.PDF upheld in Wisconsin v. Dabney , Wisconsin Court of Appeals Division 1 (4/29/03). dabneyCA.PDF
  2. California v. Robinson , Superior Court of California, Sacramento County, Case No.00F06871(2/23/01).  robinson.PDF see: People v. Robinson, Cal.App. 3 Dist., 10/26/07 Robinson-CA.PDF see: People v. Robinson, Cal.App. 3 Dist., 10/26/07 Robinson-CA.PDF see: People v. Robinson, California Supreme Court, S158528, 1/25/10 Robinson SCt.pdf
  3. Ohio v. Danley, Court of Common Pleas of Ohio, Montgomery County No. 03-CR-1596 Decided 6/9/06. danley.PDF
  4. Kansas v. Belt, Kansas Supreme Court, Nos. 95,575; 95,613; 95,614; 95,639; 95,640; 95,766, 3/28/08, a DNA “John Doe”arrest warrant's or a supporting affidavit's inclusion of a unique DNA profile can qualify as a description by which a defendant can be identified with reasonable certainty; but mere listing of DNA loci and not the DNA profile in the warrant or in a supporting affidavit cannot. belt.PDF
  5. Wisconsin v. Davis, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Case No. 04-1163-CR (3/8/05) a “John Doe” complaint that identified the defendant by a particular RFLP DNA profile tolled the statute of limitations even though eventually the DNA profile used to identify him was from a PCR based profile. Davis1.PDF
  6. People v. Martinez, 855 N.Y.S.2d 522, N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept., 4/17/08 an indictment which identified defendant solely by his DNA markers satisfied his constitutional right to notice. Martinez.PDF
  7. Commonwealth v. Dixon, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, SJC-10668, 12/09/10, sexual assault indictments without the defendant’s name but that incorporated his unique DNA profile, and bolstered by age, height, weight, and race descriptions were valid. Dixon.pdf
  8. State v. Robert Burdick, Supreme Court of Tennessee, No. M2010-00144-SC-R11-CD, 12/18/12, the court held a criminal prosecution is commenced if, within the statute of limitations for a particular offense, a John Doe warrant is issued identifying the defendant by gender and his or her unique DNA profile. Furthermore, a superseding indictment in the defendant’s proper name provides the requisite notice of the charge. Burdick.pdf

There have been a number of requests that we include a model "Joe Doe" Warrant on this page. Below are models taken from the Dabney case. Norm Gahn provided these documents and the name of the victim has been removed.

  1. The John Doe Arrest Warrant.PDF
  2. The John Doe Complaint With Genetic Profile.PDF
  3. The John Doe Arrest Warrant With Alles.PDF
  4. The John Doe Amended Complaint After Cold Hit.PDF
  5. The brief in support of John Doe Warrants.PDF
  6.  Wisconsin v. Davis, Wisconsin C.A., District 1, 3/8/05 davis.PDF.