Despite unknown DNA from murder weapon: Other unreliable Forensic Evidence continues 20 year incarceration

NEW CASE showing a systemic CJ problem. US Judiciary can’t seem to get things right when they keep agreeing with DAs advocating “strong circumstantial evidence” and “finality of guilt” themes over post-conviction DNA based exonerations. Now its “tainted DNA” which is a handoff from the OJ Simpson case. Go to the PRADE reversal of innocence in OHIO. The DA who objected to the lower court’s holding in favor of Prade’s exoneration now claims  (re: the post-conviction DNA evidence NOT profiling Prade):

“In order to be exonerated, Prade and his attorneys needed to show clear and convincing evidence of his innocence — not simply create doubt,”

What a joke. DNA as “doubt.” Its pure legal jargonism (sic).  This is after the original trial had prosecutors presenting useless and therefore unreliable testimony of a bitemark identification. It was the substitute “scientific proof” of guilt because no DNA testing was used to “test ” the bitemark opinion at trial.

Below, I have reblogged my 2013 post about the Williams Richards case from California. It parallels PRADE with another compelling tale of legal jargon of a prosecutor’s (from notoriously exoneration-free San Bernardino, CA) version of  “clear and convincing” evidence of innocence which was adopted by a CA appellate court to side-step exonerating DNA collected from the murder weapon.

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

The story continues of US judicial ignorance of scientific advances and what is “innocence.”  Judges continue to adopt prosecutorial advocacy themes of guilt “regardless.”  At the appellate level,  erroneous forensic testimony from over-reaching experts , once presented as “scientifically certain” at trial,  become “harmless error” or “merely opinion,” when the scientific truth comes out years later.


Alissa Bjerkhoel is a staff attorney at the California Innocence Project and her presentation at the 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences about William Richards’ decades long litigation is the focus of this blog. Dentists involved in Richards’ conviction and his attempts for exoneration were present in the audience. Multiple cases of exonerations after mistaken bitemark assisted convictions are also presented. Beware: Actual crime science photos are within.


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About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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