Law Offices of
David Elliott Wise

Forensic D.N.A. and Forensic Laboratory Cases

David Wise is a San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyer whose practice includes a substantial focus on forensic D.N.A. as well as other forensic science issues.  As a Bay Area DNA Attorney and San Francisco DNA Consultant, David Wise is a respected DNA legal authority.

If you are an accused person fighting forensic D.N.A. evidence in a criminal case, or are an attorney seeking a consultant, or to "associate" a defense lawyer litigate D.N.A. discovery, admissibility and proper jury consideration of D.N.A. evidence, this office can help.

As a Forensic DNA Lawyer, David Wise has been litigating discovery, admissibility, and trying criminal cases involving forensic D.N.A. evidence for fifteen years.


Crime Lab Confidential: DA and SFPD Withheld Damaging Memo About DNA Lab Failings, S.F. Weekly Cover Story, August 24, 2011: "In June, David Wise, a private defense attorney, sought to obtain documentation produced by [Rock] Harmon in pretrial hearings in a rape case. Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo ruled that it wasn't relevant so early in the court proceedings because [the analyst] had not worked on the case, but Wise says he will seek to subpoena Harmon and obtain his full memo at his client's trial."
     August 24, 2011: SF Weekly Cover Story on DNA Lab Coverup

SFPD's Troubled Crime Lab: More Evidence of Screwups and Coverups, December 13, 2010, S.F. Weekly: "David Wise, a private defense attorney who specializes in cases involving DNA evidence, said he has filed motions in ongoing criminal cases asking specifically for any new reports on the crime lab, but learned of the ASCLD report's existence only from SF Weekly. "I just can't believe it. I'm shocked," he says. "I'm troubled by the fact that I've asked for exactly this, and [prosecutors have] told me it doesn't exist. I think that's enough for me to be disturbed about, when someone's looking at 25 to life." More...

Most recently, in 2010, David Wise obtained a "whistle blower" letter from an anonymous lab worker alleging improper conduct in D.N.A. case testing at the San Francisco Crime Lab. Additionally, and as troubling as the police crime lab’s misdeeds, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office failed to meet its constitutional obligation to turn over this and other exculpatory D.N.A. lab evidence to Defendants. This incident and related ones was featured in a cover story in the S.F. Weekly magazine on December 15, 2010 entitled Missing Links; Did Prosecutors and Cops Cover Up Problems With DNA Evidence To Try To Put More People Behind Bars? A blog post continues coverage of this issue at

As conservatively detailed in a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences in their 2010 report entitled Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States; A Path Forward, Forensic D.N.A. testing has been shown to be fallible, error prone, and subject to fabrication of evidence. Not surprisingly, the human element of crime lab technicians is the source of many such failures. Additionally police departments, District Attorney’s Offices, and certain D.N.A. test kit manufacturers trumpet the alleged perfection of D.N.A. testing and results in an effort to streamline the obtaining of convictions and sell product.

Among other achievements, Mr. Wise was the first San Francisco criminal defense lawyer to obtain Internal Validation Studies of the San Francisco Crime Lab, Forensic Biology Section, after it re-opened at Hunters Point. He was the first to obtain an un-redacted error log (corrective action log) from the D.N.A. section in 2010.

He secured the acquittal before a jury of a defendant facing twenty years in prison for multiple counts of armed robbery. The prosecution alleged that a gunman’s ski mask with the Defendant’s D.N.A. on the nose, found on the Defendant’s bed, implicated the Defendant. Mr. Wise elicited expert testimony that a “transfer” of D.N.A. to the mask could explain the presence of D.N.A. without the mask having been worn.

A full C.V. from Mr. Wise is available upon request.

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(415) 764-4952
360 Ritch Street, Suite 201
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tel: (415) 764-4952
Fax: (415) 764-4953