Nationwide, Judges continue to admit disavowed “science”

Inquiring minds should wonder if some judges understand their own rules of admissibility.

Christine Funk

The Santa Cruz Sentinel is reporting the disturbing trend nationwide of judges continuing to allow evidence unsupported by science.

Examples of judges continuing to allow forensic science which is not been properly validated into the court room include a case in Connecticut, where a judge allowed By Zalman992 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5300412prosecutors to present evidence about a footprint they felt was relevant. Testimony evidently involved representations of a forensic scientist that a specific shoe belonging to a man accused of the crime left of the relevant footprint. In Chicago, a federal court judge allowed experts to describe firearm and toolmark comparisons performed on bullets collected at crime scenes. In Pennsylvania, a judge ruled that prosecutors could elicit testimony about bite marks found on the body of a murder victim.

These rulings are troubling for several reasons. In Chicago, the federal court rationalized the testimony would be subject to cross examination by the defense attorneys.  This…

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Ballistic DA in bitemark case goes after Innocence Project attorneys and a blog

 

Image result for innocence project bitemarks

A prosecutor has his shorts in a bind over press coverage and an op-ed about his bitemark case. My guess is, by inference, the discussion of the continued prosecutorial use of  junk forensics should be hidden from public view. The IP has compiled a case list of 29 convictions and incarcerations where bitemark experts have identified the innocent as criminals.

“DA Richard A. Consiglio said attorneys for the Innocence Project, M. Chris Fabricant and Dana Delger, were attempting “to try the case in public.” “

http://www.altoonamirror.com/news/local-news/2017/08/da-blasts-defense-blog-in-ross-case/

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Actions of bitemark experts before testimony brings consequences after exoneration

 

From a recent Tech Dirt op-ed.

“We’ve discussed the junk science masquerading as forensic science in criminal cases. Coming in slightly ahead of chatting with psychics is “bite mark analysis.” According to these so-called experts, each bite mark is just as unique as a fingerprint. But if so, why have so many cases been overturned when actual science — usually DNA evidence — is examined? Bite mark analysts have no answers. Fortunately, there’s been less and less reliance on this highly-questionable evidence over the years.”

https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=robert+stinson

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Want to see a ‘positive ID” bitemark pattern?

Here is what was used to convict one defendant as the “only person” who could have made this mark. The defendant has been in prison for decades.

then look at this “adjusted” image of the same image right after this message.

Just like a fingerprint, right? If you are confused about bitemark evidence, please read:

“Attack of the bite mark matchers.”

 

 

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Trump admin cuts DNA testing for Missing Persons – Drug War wins again

Pursuing non-violent drug use and funding the US incarceration industry takes a higher priority in Trump/Sessions’ forensic agenda than identifying unknown human remains and unidentified persons in the US.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/08/19/dna-lab-reduces-testing-for-missing-people-amid-funding-woes.html

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Chris Fabricant of the IP talks about judges avoiding science in the courtroom

“At some point, we have to acknowledge that precedent has to be overruled by scientific reality.”

Some of that science — analysis of bite marks, latent fingerprints, firearms identification, burn patterns in arson investigations, footwear patterns and tire treads — was once considered sound, but is now being denounced by some lawyers and scientists who say it has not been studied enough to prove its reliability and in some cases has led to wrongful convictions.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel

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The Next iOS Update Has a Feature to Prevent Cops From Searching Your iPhone

USJUSTICEAPPLEIPHONE

The new feature should be of particular interest to protesters or anyone else who would rather the police not read all their contacts and text messages.

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Bitemark dentists get put into civil court to hear from exoneree Robert Stinson

Image result for robert lee stinson compensation

” We conclude that we lack jurisdiction to hear the defend‐
ants’ appeals of the denial of qualified immunity because
those appeals fail to take the facts and reasonable inferences
from the record in the light most favorable to Stinson and
challenge the sufficiency of the evidence on questions of fact.
As a consequence, Johnson v. Jones, 515 U.S. 304 (1995) pre‐
cludes interlocutory review. We do have jurisdiction to con‐
sider the district court’s denial of absolute immunity to John‐
son and Rawson. That denial was correct because Stinson’s
claims focus on their conduct while the murder was being in‐
vestigated, not on their trial testimony or trial testimony prep‐
aration.” Stinson En_Banc Opinion

Backstory on Stinson’s WI case of wrongful conviction.

Stinson’s fight for compensation. 

Paltry legislation for the wrongfully convicted. Loevy and Lovey blog.

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Forensics and Law for the Week: From the News and Courts in the US

Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Michigan State University have published a new study on the development of an algorithm that can determine whether a fingerprint found at a crime scene contains enough information to be uploaded to AFIS (NIST.gov)

“DNA Experts Present First Exoneration Based on False Y-STR Inclusion”
(Forensic Magazine)
Related: FSI Genetics

“DNA collected at arrest often not removed from crime databases for those not convicted” (Cleveland.com)

Patrick Pursley, an Illinois man convicted in 1994 of murder (who has maintained his innocence), has been granted a new trial due to inaccurate ballistics/firearm science and exaggerated expert testimony used in his original trial (Forensic Magazine)

In the latest battle over surveillance and internet privacy, the Department of Justice has demanded internet hosting company Dreamhost hand over all its users’ data—including “’all records or other information’ pertaining to disruptj20.org, including log files showing who visited the website, when, from where, and what they looked at, and all emails related to the website”—in order to identify people who protested during the current president’s inauguration (NY Times)

“Police Body Camera Company, Axon, Is Vacuuming In Data, Stoking Privacy Concerns”
(International Business Times)

An article in the Marshall Project discusses a current Massachusetts Supreme Court case in which the justices used new evidentiary standards to overturn Victor Rosario’s conviction. The author argues that this standard would make it easier for wrongful convictions to be overturned, unlike the restrictive standards employed by most jurisdictions in the United States.

Reasonably Suspicious: Bethke leaves TIDC, cap-and-trade to limit incarceration?, DNA-mixture SNAFUs, and more

Just Liberty’s latest “Reasonably Suspicious” podcast for August features discussions of important issues and fresh ideas confronting Texas’ criminal justice system. (This is the last episode in our summertime “soft launch” before promoting the show more widely beginning in September.) Listen to the podcast here, or read a transcript below the jump:

https://archive.org/embed/17AugReasonablySuspiciousPodcast

 

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Houston crime lab gets more bad press: misplaced evidence

Related image

https://www.click2houston.com/news/dna-evidence-in-19-year-old-case-found-in-former-houston-forensic-science-employees-office

The article states that the new administration of the revamped crime lab reported this discrepancy and have safeguards in place regarding eliminating this type of error.

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