A “discrepant” view on flawed forensics leading to later exonerations – bitemarks at al.

A mighty effort by someone connected to the National Institute of Justice to blend ‘forward thinking’ about science and better crime lab management improving the reliability of criminal convictions. The author uses a blend of data that minimizes how many cases ‘clearly’ can be blamed on prosecution forensic experts.

Excuse me, but ‘clearly’ far exceeds what is claimed to exist in this opus. The bitemark discussion is a bunch of flim-flam. In multiple controlled tests, (their own), they couldn’t even reach a consensus about what a bitemark should look like. In actual casework it is clearly an “unsafe” method.

https://nij.gov/journals/279/Pages/wrongful-convictions-and-dna-exonerations.aspx?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=articles#author

 

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Making sure non data-driven forensics gets a pass in the courtroom – “I’m an examiner”

Image result for scientific naysayers

This is from a well positioned advocate of “source of the evidence” determinations being based on “expertise.” The writer has an affinity for bitemark analysis as well and worries about the DAs losing their advantage of using soft ‘police science’ to gain convictions.

“However, this writer suspects that new forensic examiners as well as new prosecutors may not have considered this issue, and may get caught up in an evidentiary hearing with the goal of excluding certain physical evidence.”

Ironically, the article was published in the Forensic Science Research.

A new challenge for expert witnesses relying on subjective information

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Forensics: Scientific American goes after (again) Trump/Sessions dumping NCFS Commission

 

This iconic publisher of all things related to science has consistently reflected the need for advances in forensic reliability and “gap” analysis to reduce errors.  SA has republished this piece previously titled “Forensic Science Must Be Scientific.” Wrongful convictions from the bitemarkers  junk palm-reading and soothsaying starts it all off.

Note: the above courtroom image shows a bitemarker’s analyzing a ‘positive identification’ with ‘reasonable medical certainty.’ All based on a few normal teeth. The District Attorney said the “match” was “dramatic.”

Huh?

Let’s Keep the Science in Forensic Science

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The failure of Forensic Evidence standards: Daubert flaws allowing junk science in courts

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“This article examines the justice system’s failure by reviewing the status of
six forensic techniques: (1) bite mark analysis, (2) microscopic hair comparisons,
(3) firearms and toolmark identifications, (4) fingerprint examinations, (5) bullet
lead analysis, and (6) arson evidence. It argues that the system’s failure can be
traced back to its inability to demand and properly evaluate foundational research,
i.e., Daubert’s first factor (empirical testing). Indeed, the justice system may be
structurally incapable of applying Daubert in criminal cases.”

Professor Gianelli ( a god of legal evidence )  on Forensic Science: Daubert’s Failure

PS/ Bitemarks start on page 10.

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“When you mix police work and science, they don’t always speak the same language,”

Image result for fox in the henhouse

Nothing but the facts in this one. Other than to remind you all that the Feds want to monitor their own forensic science commission. 

“In fact, the auditing agencies designated to watch the lab in the past missed the warning signs for almost a decade. Before 2016, the Austin lab had been passing audits with no problems. It was not until lab staff members defended their use of unsound testing procedures that the Texas Forensic Science Commission was alerted to the problems there and instigated a new audit.”

https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2017/09/austins-crime-lab-failure-points-national-crisis/

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Forensics Video: The Big Problems with Testing Tiny Bits of DNA

From ProPublica: “ProPublica senior reporting fellow Lauren Kirchner explains the controversy over some DNA testing methods developed by the NYC crime lab”

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Cop and coroner run amok at death scene? Or is it retribution for whistleblowing?

Image result for monroe county coroner  pennsylvania department

Nasty. Sex and drugs. Or, on the other hand, it’s false and really is retribution for calling out elected coroner misconduct or mismangement. 

“Allegations about the Monroe County coroner’s office were laid out in recent court filings: Sex between a deputy coroner and a police officer at a death scene; stealing prescription drugs and other items from the deceased; an extramarital affair in the woods, carried out during working hours; and showing co-workers cellphone photos of a lover’s male genitalia.”

http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/09/lawsuit_alleges_sex_scandal_in.html

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AAAS, a very broad science group, looks at arson investigators and their assumptions

Prosecutors ( @NDAAJustice) will attack this report as “not relevant” due to this “scientific community” not being law enforcement employed fire investigators. Most of arson field investigators only need a high school diploma as a pre-requisite.

“This investigative technique, while still adequate for fires that have not reached flashover, must be modified for post-flashover or “fully involved” fires. Studies have shown that fires burning for even a few minutes beyond flashover produce burn patterns capable of causing erroneous conclusions in determining the origin of a fire in excess of 75%.9
In one study, only 13 of 53 investigators were able to correctly identify the quadrant of origin in a fire that burned for three minutes beyond flashover.10 These results are cause for concern.”

One of their recommendations:

“These tests of reliability will provide feedback on decision
points that cause divergent findings among investigators.”

Full American Association For The Advancement of Science arson review. 

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Deeper look at how prosecutors “ambush” criminal defendants with faulty forensics

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………or do not turn over the forensics at all. It’s as if they never went to law school and took Evidence 101. DAs rarely get sanctioned or disciplined afterwards although recently, a Long Island DA got fired. 

Mistrial granted on Brady violation. 

Kindly ignore the survey that pops-up.

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Forensics: Why criminal courts allow use of experts where civil courts would exclude

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Two experienced legal commentators take a comparative look at expert witness presenting science in both civil and criminal proceedings. No surprise they pick on the bitemarkers. See the weak criminal courts exercise of pre-trial ‘scientific review’ when the judges are ex-prosecutors. It is all about precedent of the past rather than legit scientific analysis.

“The authors believe that these dynamics are more insidious than questionable individual prosecutorial or judicial behavior in this context. Not only are judges likely to be former
prosecutors, prosecutors are “repeat players” in criminal litigation and, as such, routinely support reduced pretrial protections for defendants.”

Here is a telling reference to the corporal theme of this 17 page article which is linked below.

D. Michael Risinger, Navigating Expert Reliability: Are Criminal Standards of Certainty Being Left on the Dock?, 64 ALB. L. REV. 99, 100 (2000); see also David A. Sklansky & Stephen C. Yeazell,
Comparative Law Without Leaving Home: What Civil Procedure Can Teach Criminal Procedure, and Vice Versa, 94 GEO. L. J. 683, 714–15 (2005) (explaining that “[c]ivil litigators who venture into criminal cases tend to be stunned and often outraged by their inability to depose government witnesses or even to file interrogatories or requests for admissions”). [bold added]

Discovering Forensic Fraud

 

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