Bad science from the AAFS/ABFO dentists | Media responses from the past | Forensics in Focus @csidds

Making positive news about bitemark evidence for media reporting is a tough job. I thought that I should make a short list of articles that have appeared in major media sources over the decades.


Some predate the news about bitemark experts aiding wrongful convictions.  This still contrasts with the continued illogic of courts’ admitting these opinions in the face of better science.


These are a few. More to come, when time allows. 


The first article (1996) that really got things going for anti-bitemark identification in the US media. By Mark Hansen from the American Bar Association.  “Out of the Blue.”


Bitemarks from the Past (2004). From the start, a faulty science  From Steve Mills , Flynn McRoberts, and in a later article, Steve and Maurice Possley at the Chi Trib. MP later shared a Pulitzer prize for journalism. This team of Steve and MP did a remarkable second  piece (from 2008) about the parties involved in the next link on the vacuous scientific bases for bitemark IDs. Something to do with DNA versus  erroneous bitemark opinions.  


From 2008. Bitemark research hopefuls (the same duo from the last link)  begging for money on promises of future success. They later received over $715,000 from the National Institute of Justice. Their recent 2014 news release on “success” has some critics.  Someone at Marquette University should have read this article first.


2011. From The Agitator. Radley Balko is now an opinion journalist for The Washington Post.


The last good comment I can find about methods used in the “paradigm” of bitemark comparisons. From the FBI in 2001.


How things have changed. Having co-developed (initially with Dr. David Sweet (1997) and soon after with Dr. Ray Johansen (2000 and beyond) regarding the use of Adobe PhotoShop for crime scene pix, I doubt that that more than 10% of the current 95 dental group (ABFO) members are proficient with its simple applications. It was meant as a tool for correcting photographic issues previously requiring the use of conventional chemical  photo crime lab methods. It did not speak to the faulty assumptions that bitemark experts still use to “make a match” to a suspect’s dental profile.










About csidds

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

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