Skip to content

2015 Hellman Fellow

Andrea Roth

Analyzing the implications of DNA databases created in exchange for an individual benefit (UCB)

Andrea Roth is a Professor in the College of Law at UC Berkeley. She joined the faculty in 2011 after three years as a Grey Fellow at Stanford and nine years as a trial and appellate public defender in Washington, D.C. She studies how criminal procedure and evidence must be reconceived in the era of science-based prosecutions.

Her 2015 Hellman Fellowship supported research of a unique database created by the Orange County, California District Attorney’s office that contains the DNA of more than 180,000 people charged with petty misdemeanors. These individuals consented to sharing genetic information in exchange for a case dismissal or more lenient plea offer. Fellowship funding enabled Dr. Roth to receive training in qualitative research and to conduct original empirical research including court session observations, records review, and interviews with defendants, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys about the database. The project culminated in a law review article that inspired nationwide media attention and talks with California lawmakers about regulating such databases moving forward.

The article published as a result of my Hellman Fellows award was the last in my tenure file, demonstrating my new methodological skills and the real-world impact of my scholarship.

– Andrea Roth, Ph.D.

Related Stories