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Science Casts Doubt on FBI's Bullet Evidence
Los Angeles Times ^
| February 3, 2003
| By Charles Piller and Robin Mejia
Posted on 02/02/2003 10:59:34 PM PST by Kay Soze
Method uses trace elements in lead to link slugs from crimes with suspects' ammunition. Study finds it is based on false assumptions. By Charles Piller and Robin Mejia Special to the Times
February 3 2003
The body of coin dealer Robert Rose was discovered in his Main Street office in South River, N.J., on a steamy July evening in 1995. He had been shot four times in the head.
There were no witnesses, no fingerprints, no gun.
But a chemical analysis of bullets by the FBI seemed to conclusively link the rounds that killed Rose to a box of cartridges belonging to one of his customers, Michael Behn. Lead in the different bullets bore the same telltale pattern of impurities, an FBI expert told the jury. Behn was convicted of the murder.
The same technique has been used in thousands of criminal cases over the last 30 years. Testimony by FBI experts about chemical "matches" between bullets has helped put hundreds of defendants behind bars across the country. In one Texas case, such testimony contributed to the conviction of an accused murderer, who was put to death.
Now, emerging scientific evidence has called the technique into question.
A Times examination of technical studies and trial transcripts and interviews with former FBI technicians, independent scientists and legal scholars suggests that the bureau's use of evidence derived from the lead in bullets may be based on faulty assumptions that greatly overstate the importance of matches.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fbi; forensics
To Comply with posting LA Times articles- I have posted less than 5% of the article.
posted on 02/02/2003 10:59:34 PM PST
by Kay Soze
To: Kay Soze
The two key facts that apparently the FBI "experts" get wrong is:
a. The chemical composition does not form a unique chemical signiture, becaus on cooling and solidifying, impuriites freeze out very non-uniformly - a fact that any semi-competent metalurgist would know. "Bullets created from the same block of lead can appear unrelated and bullets produced years apart can appear virtually identical."
b. "FBI examiners have testified that bullets are often smelted from batches of lead as small as 70 pounds enough to make about 10,000 .22-caliber bullets.But according to the study, ammunition is usually created from lots of lead that weigh 50 tons or more and yield up to 17 million .22-caliber bullets a number that would dramatically dilute the significance of any match."
To: Kay Soze; Jaded; CAPPSMADNESS; UCANSEE2
As more and more information is revealed, it is obvious that Forensics is JUNK SCIENCE and/or MANIPULATED EVIDENCE.
It was the Westerfield trial that opened my eyes.
posted on 02/03/2003 6:26:48 AM PST
No such thing as "Junk Science" Judy. Some sciences are more exact than others and all sciences can be manipulated to a certain extent. Remember, science is not a magic black box where one can magically find truth. - Science is the opposite of absolute truth.
The science of ballistics is still in it's infancy, so there are bound to be errors and new discoveries.
posted on 02/03/2003 10:10:31 AM PST
(FOUND: Moral Compass... lost in the vicinity of post #458.....)
You know how I love ya, little girl ... but I don't agree with you about man's science (as opposed to the true science of God). Archaeology and anthropology are full of bias and manipulation. I accepted that a long time ago, as I lurked on a email list of those "learned academics". (It was funny. They can flame each other to make some of the FReepers look like babes in the wood.)
However, I had faith in Forensics. Now I learn it's NOT subject to rigid rules, rather it is evaluated according to the interpreter's agenda. That's why experts on both the defense and the prosecution will give opposite conclusions over the same evidence.
I hope they don't call me up for a jury and waste my time. They'll only send me home when I tell them I think they are ALL liars.
I have a new phrase for it. Just like policemen have "throw-down guns", I think most of those "expert witnesses" use "throw-down science".
When it comes to forensics, if you can't believe the dogs and the bees, there's nothing left to believe!
posted on 02/03/2003 2:10:26 PM PST
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