• The hair was merely circumstantial evidence linking [the defendant] to the crime.
• This Court has already held that trial courts are generally within their discretion to permit hair comparison analysis.
• The inability to positively tie the hair to the victim goes to the weight of the evidence and not its admissibility.
See Fultz v. State, 358 N.E.2d 123, 128 (Ind. 1976)(citation omitted)(“An additional basis for the objection was that the testimony of the expert witness concerning the similarities in the hair specimens was inconclusive, it being admitted that two specimens of hair could be identical in all of the perceptible characteristics and yet not be from the same person. Evidence need not be conclusive to be relevant. As previously stated, relevance is the logical tendency of evidence to prove a material fact. The connection between the evidence and the fact sought to be proved need not be absolute. If the evidence tends to connect the defendant to the crime, it is relevant. The absence of a direct link goes only to the weight and not the admissibility of the evidence. The evidence being relevant was clearly admissible, and the weight to be accorded to it was for the jury to determine.”)
Obtaining hair samples and its relationship to the privilege against self-incrimination
• Taking hair samples from the defendant does not violate the defendant's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
See Gillie v. State, 465 N.E.2d 1380, 1386 (Ind. 1984)(citing Gilbert v. California, 388 U.S. 263, 266 (1967))(“[T]he Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination protects a defendant only from testimonial compulsion and not from compulsory submission to tests that are merely physical or produce evidence that is only physical in nature.”)
Obtaining hair samples and its relationship to the defendant’s right to counsel
• We have held many times that the right to counsel attaches at the critical stages of criminal proceedings and that legal counsel is not required for perfunctory, administrative procedures such as the taking of fingerprints and handwriting exemplars. The taking of a hair sample is one of those procedures for which legal counsel is not required. As when a handwriting examplar is taken, the risk that the absence of counsel might derogate from a defendant's right to a fair trial is minimal.