Skip to comments.How to Bring Real Science Into the Courtroom - A disturbing new report says our criminal courts...
Posted on 02/20/2009 9:55:20 PM PST by neverdem
A disturbing new report says our criminal courts have been relying on bad evidence.
A forthcoming study from the National Academy of Sciences on the poor quality of forensic science in America’s courtrooms is expected to send shockwaves through the criminal justice system. According to The New York Times:
People who have seen it say it is a sweeping critique of many forensic methods that the police and prosecutors rely on, including fingerprinting, firearms identification and analysis of bite marks, blood spatter, hair and handwriting. The report says such analyses are often handled by poorly trained technicians who then exaggerate the accuracy of their methods in court.
Law enforcement organizations have tried to derail the report nearly every step of the way, and with good reason. Police and prosecutors have been relying on bad science to get convictions for decades. It’s only recently, as the onset of DNA testing has begun uncovering a disturbing spate of wrongful convictions, that some of the criminal justice system’s cottage industry pseudo-sciences like "bite mark analysis" have been exposed for the quackery they are.
The power of DNA to exonerate the condemned has us quickly learning that our courts have for years been corrupted by charlatans and snake-oil salesmen, such as Mississippi’s dubious “bite mark expert” Dr. Michael West and impossibly industrious medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne; Oklahoma City’s Dr. Joyce Gilchrist; or Maryland’s Joseph Kopera, to name just a few.
The report’s critique of forensic evidence is much needed, but the proposed solution doesn’t sound promising. According to The New York Times, the report "concludes that Congress should create a federal agency to guarantee the independence of the field, which has been dominated..."
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...
Am I surprised? No way. the good guys are human too and screw up just as often as the rest of us.
You and me both, m’FRiend!
I found how the World had been misled by prostitute
Writers, to ascribe the greatest Exploits in War to
Cowards, the wisest Counsel to Fools, Sincerity to
Flatterers, Roman Virtue to Betrayers of their Country,
Piety to Atheists, Chastity to Sodomites, Truth to
Here I discovered the secret Causes of many great Events
that have surprized the World, how a Whore can Govern the
Back-stairs, the Back-stairs a Council, and the Council a
There was a society of men among us, bred up from their
youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the
purpose, that white is black and black is white, according
as they are paid. (IV:5)
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
...then there’s the “CSI Effect”...where juries believe the fake techniques used on TV and think that all cases must have super-duper flashy forensic evidence or they aren’t doing their jobs right.
sad but true.
Oh, yeah, that'll work.
criminal justice ping
...twenty-seven eight by ten full-color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one describing what it was...
Oh, no, you mean forensic evidence experts are as mixed up as global warming experts?