“Accelerating forensic science” versus judicial inertia due to “stare decisis”

Image result for slow progress is better than no progress

See the framework for “new” forensic paradigms entering the judicial environment in  every convoluted detail.

Here is an issue-laded Jurimetrics open access paper (18  pages) dealing with the interface of judges’ ‘science’ decision making and changes within forensic science. Simon Cole at UC Irvine uses a familiar case for some of us: William Richards’ bitemark conviction and later exoneration.

Cole in Jurimetrics – Courts Accomodating Scientific Change SSRN-id3046876

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Crime lab scandals advance to over 10,000 cases and increased investigation of multiple labs

Forensics ‘data manipulation’ may have affected 10000 cases

An investigation into alleged data manipulation at a forensics laboratory has identified more than 10,000 cases which may have been affected, the National Police Chiefs’ Council has said. Forensic experts started reviewing cases after concerns came to light during a criminal investigation into allegedly …
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Man’s murder confession spurred by DNA phenotyping mug shot

Image result for parabon forensic genetic phenotyping

This case deserves a closer look. Parabon DNA lab did the testing. The method of developing physical traits from DNA samples is a burgeoning business.


More discussion on the issues involving these genetic mug shots from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

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Gunslinger Billy the Kid hangs out with his crew, one who shot him a couple years later.

Photo found of Billy the Kid, lawman Garrett who killed him

American 1880’s outlaw and historical serial killer, Billy the Kid (William Bonney) sat for a tintype with some of his cohorts. Billy (second from left) was soon after shot down by the man on the far right (Pat Garret) who later became a local lawman in New Mexico. Some forensic document skeptics respond in this article.


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The New Phrenology scam crops up in China and makes inroads in Criminal Justice…..again

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Long determined to be forensically incompetent, some researchers are testing a hundred year old Bertillon Paradigm of criminal visage prediction for law enforcement. He did come up with the first consistent use of photography at crime scenes. Plus he is thought to be a co-discoverer of fingerprint systematics. This “physiognomy of criminality” is nothing more than digital imagery being digitally measured and achieving, in some media, the title of “new science”

Here’s a bit of this Bertillon Redux with accompanying skepticism.


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Blood spatter continues: It’s purveyors and assumption spur critics to express weaknesses


This is a continuation of our previous blog on blood drops and criminal justice. It is expressly “old school” and experts really heavily on “experiments” both in courtrooms and their ‘spatter” rooms. Calling this science is also present in court testimony. It is nothing of the sort. All the examiners know what results support the aims of their employers and they know what to leave outside the courtroom. That ain’t science, bud.

Taking a close look at “blood spatter” now being called “blood spatter analysis” by its adherents. This article places it in the “bitemark analysis category” of faded glory of forensics.

A “blood examiner” discredited. 

New trial ordered from “misleading” blood expert. 

Peterson decision squeezes Deaver. 

Deaver gets fired.. 

Post conviction appeals focuses on blood guy Deaver. 


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“Almost junk forensic science” of blood spatter expertise – Its not as simple as it’s taught in class

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Here is a good look at why “forensics” should be considered amateur-hour non-science in many jurisdictions.

Article goes within a conviction that had the same cop being the crime evidence collector, analyst, and lead investigator. Much goes wrong in the Jennings’ case. The trail of pattern matching over blown conclusions is broad and continues to be acceptable everywhere.

“In the Jennings case, not only did the detective, Nash, reopen the case and serve as lead investigator, he also directly participated in testing evidence in the crime lab.

Nash testified that he was with Jason Wycoff, a DNA specialist with the Highway Patrol, when they tested Jennings’ bathrobe for blood.

According to the trial transcript, Nash said as a “general rule,” the lab did not allow investigators to be present during testing.”



Unassociated with the above story, this article is about how the US Supreme Court has a scatter-shot ability to handle forensic mistakes and misconduct in a cogent manner. Here is the crime lab scandal of the New Millenium possessing historical and unprecedented deceptions. Melendez v. Diaz

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“A pernicious pseudo-forensic science” languishes in a MS courthouse

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For the umpteenth time, a court judge slowly ponders a life and death conviction which used junk forensic ‘experts’ now dwindled credibilty to put a person in prison and on death row. The dentist has a string of misadventures and outright fabrications for which he has no remorse.

“It demonstrates that Michael West has been wrong once again,” Fabricant said. “Sherwood Brown represents the 30th known wrongful conviction or indictment attributable to bite mark evidence. It’s an absolutely staggering number for a little-utilized technique.”


Past looks at Michael West and his ‘pernicisity.’

Here.  Performing as a man above his peers.

Here. The “Sting” operation that brought West $500 and total discredit.

Here. Dregs of his past glory.

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Cops lost track of supposed mafia victim’s body but vow they won’t give up looking for it because they “never give up.”

Image result for empty grave

Unidentified remains of of crime victim commonly disappear from police or coroner’s record keeping due to many factors. California has a statute requiring dental data and DNA samples be preserved and sent to the Department of Justice in Sacramento for testing.



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It takes decades for courts to react when #Forensic Failures occur; another example: Motherisk lab scandal


Bitemarkers had cases overturned in the 90’s. Doubt’s about this pseudo-science claiming “uniqueness” started in the 1970’s ( See Gianelli ). No courts paid attention by their claiming “case acceptance” by similar brethren was overwhelming. We now know acceptance by a few incentivised practitioners is no substitute for multi-variate and empirical testing. The damage in many such cases is unrecoverable.  As in this Canadian case, the people getting paid to purvey their junk forensics just kept on lying and making money.  Above is Fr. Torquemada of the Sp. Inquisition. Father T. had all the necessary reference material about witchcraft in this once-revered tome.   Innocents paid the price. In the thousands. This article is about one court’s take-down of a fraudulent crime lab over 20 years ago. The damage from this fraud is yet to be fully assessed.


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