Forensic Focus | Bitemarks on Death Row

Fridays’ FORENSIC FOCUS LINKS @csidds | Feb 21| Bitemarks on death row, crime lab backlogs a threat to public safety, breaking stats on hate crimes,

What’s trending today. The biggest problem with forensic science is that’s there is almost NO information about its research. What you see below is what there is currently available. Forensic literature and journals like the Journal of Forensic Sciences seem to have little impact value.  

Crime Labs  

There is a common scenario in police managed labs across the country. The ridiculous backlogs in  biological testing of evidence. Despite these labs employing the hangers-on forensic disciplines of trace evidence, bitemark identifiers, shoeprints, and bullet matching, the introduction of robust DNA methods has police biologists overwhelmed.

More on the same backlog issue. New case scenarios. Sex crime evidence took crime lab one year to process. Then something else happened while the evidence languished. He attacked another victim and that led back to the first crime.

Same story, different spin. Now its “cutting edge” crime fighting. Really?

Bitemark Misidentifications from Death Row

The life and legacy of Greg Wilhoit who was on OK death row from the combination of bogus bitemark opinions and incompetent defense counsel. Thanks to Mark Godsey and author John Grisham for telling his story in The Innocent Man.

Crime Scene reconstructionist at trial. Here is his metaphor for what he does. Bovine identification.  “You may have pieces of a cow, but you don’t have the whole cow, but you know it’s a cow,” he said. He has testified in hundreds of cases.

Hate Crimes / Civil Rights

The targets have changed in the US. Incredible statistics of anti-Hispanic hate crimes determined as increasing to epidemic proportions in the US. 2011 had 0.6 per 1,000: 2012 zoomed to 2.0 per 1000.

Link to The Latin Post on the subject. Much more emotional.

The EU isn’t fairing any better. The Jewish perspective on anti-Semitism. One in four face oppression, intimidation and violence.  

Japan has 31 public libraries vandalized. “the Diary of Anne Frank” is the target. Over 250 books destroyed.

Criminal Law

Defense attorney, in pursuing a vigorous defense for his client, is having sleepless nights. http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/pd_says_he_fears_arrest_before_triple_murder_case_concludes

Ballistics

South Africa: The Oscar Pistorius prosecution expert sides with the defense.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/oscar-pistorius-prosecution-suffers-setback-20140221-hvd9n.html

Cold Cases

 Man’s disappearance 5 years ago, now linked to son by some unreported “forensic break.”

http://mtstandard.com/news/local/forensics-break-opens-cold-case-son-accused-of-killing-butte/article_3c75fc8c-99eb-11e3-8bc0-0019bb2963f4.html

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in AAFS, Bitemarks, criminal justice, expert testimony, Forensic Science and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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