An opening statement.
To be honest, this ABFO generated material is nothing new. What is typical, along with the personal attacks, is the absence of meaningful point-by-point discussion of scientific (i.e. the 2009 NAS Report) and exoneration case evaluation. It also provides the un-informed dental community with less than a balanced presentation of the facts. You might see why the American Dental Association does not consider this group a certified dental specialty.
What is also missing is the context of what is currently going on in the real world of forensic dentistry. As in, Bitemark Evidence may put Eddie Lee Howard in the Death Chamber of Mississippi.
None of this small group has assisted the Mississippi Innocence Project in this matter. (April 17, 2016 added: One ABFO dentist, Dr. Cynthia Brozsowski, is now assisting the Innocent Projects (MS and NY) in this case.)
Propaganda piece by embattled forensic dentistry group published by California Dental Association. JCDA_06-2015 (Go to pg. 309 for the bitemark chapter)
Title image presenting a visual analogy that teeth are like fingerprints (look very closely) from the Journal of the California Dental Association’s “Forensic Odontology” current issue. This is popular in court testimony of forensic dentists since the 1970s. Currently: This only works if DNA is obtained from the dental pulp or the bitten evidence. You can forget about bitemark patterns.
This latest iteration ( on pg. 309) of the ABFO’s ability to “spin’ adverse media and their mis-identification of innocent parties from their use of flawed assumption-based “biter” matching has reached another low. The remainder of the piece about what forensic dentistry accomplishes is appropriate.
Their substantive media approach uses “conspiracy theories” to oppose the following events: The ‘co-conspirators” are:
1. legitimate reform groups such as the Innocence Project’s Network, the National Criminal Defense Association, and by implication….
2. their cooperative efforts with the FBI, NIST and numerous District Attorney Conviction Integrity Units and …
3. efforts of those who have been wrongfully convicted to gain monetary compensation. This is despite 1/2 of the United States allows compensation by statute.
4. recent research in bitemark matching and skin distortion as having been “manipulated.”
There is more. Here’s a few more highlights of their spin (in quotes and italicized). I have added some responses of my own in CAPS (sorry):
4. State v. Marx (1975) “Marx was convicted of voluntary manslaughter partly as a result of the weight of the bite-mark evidence, thereby setting the standard for cases involving bite marks as evidence.”
THE MARX DECISION CONSIDERED THE CASE’s BITEMARK EVIDENCE TO BE EXTRAORDINARILY COMPELLING AND UNUSUALLY DISTINCT. THE DENTISTS CLEARLY STATED THAT THIS WAS AN EXCEPTIONALLY DETAILED INJURY PATTERN AND THE COURT ADMITTED THERE WAS LITTLE TO NO EMPIRICAL SCIENCE AS A FOUNDATION OF THEIR OPINIONS. SINCE THEN, THE CASE HAS BEEN USED TO PERMIT ALL OUT ACCEPTANCE OF THE MULTIPLE METHODS THAT STILL LACK VALIDATION AND USE MUTUAL AGREEMENT OF A FEW PRACTIONERS AS A SUBSTITUTE.
5, “As a result of a desire to “do the right thing” on the part of a few forensic dentists, coupled with bungled police work…….”
THIS IS MISINFORMATION AND PLAYING THE “BLAME GAME.” THERE ARE 24 KNOWN CASES OF BITEMARK ASSOCIATED EXONERATIONS ( ALL BUT 3 FROM ABFO MEMBERS AND ITS PAST PRESIDENTS) OF INCORRECT BITEMARK IDENTIFICATION (AS DETERMINED BY POST CONVICTION OR POST INCARCERATION DNA TESTING) HAVE NEVER BEEN PUBLICLY REVIEWED BY THE ABFO AS TO WHERE MISTAKES IN THE “SCIENCE” WERE AND STILL ARE BEING MADE. SEE Description of Bite Mark Exonerations and Arrests
6. “Forensic science has a much better Occam’s razor to deal with the solutions of proving guilt or innocence now that DNA profiling has come to fruition.”
UNINTELLIGIBLE STATEMENT. NOTE: ABFO ODONTS DO NOT HESITATE TO USE THEIR OPINIONS IN CASES WITHOUT AVAILABLE DNA EVIDENCE.
7. “As for bite-mark injuries, considering that the majority of them are evaluated from an elastic medium such as human skin and are typically delivered under dynamic, variable conditions, one would expect to see certain inherent distortions in the victim’s injury.”
ABFO ODONTS “CONSIDER” SKIN DISTORTION YET HAVE NO MEANS OF SCIENTIFICALLY COMPENSATING FOR IT. THEY VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE LABORATORY RESEARCH ELICITING THE UNCONTROLLABLE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF SKIN AS AN IMPRESSION SUBSTRATE. Plus……
“As useful as this research has been, [………………………} bites can be manipulated to produce distorted or nondistorted patterned injuries. Depending on what results the researchers want to end up with determines how the bites are made.”
JUST MORE ENDLESS PERSONAL ATTACK. ALSO, IS SOMEONE FORGETTING THEIR RECENT QUASH OF ABFO TESTING RESULTS ON THE SUBJECT OF “WHAT IS A BITEMARK?” IT WAS A DISASTER.
8. “use extreme caution when attempting to identify the perpetrator of a bite-mark injury”
“CAUTION” IS USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROVING-UP BITEMARK’S SCIENTIFIC LIMITATIONS, THE DANGERS OF THE CONTINUED USE OF UNVALIDATED AND ARBITRARY OPINIONS CLOAKED AS ‘SCIENCE’ AS SEEN IN US COURT CASE LAW.
9. “The forensic experts have a unified goal — to improve their respective fields by conforming to the rules of scientific investigation and to minimize bias from the subjective elements inherent in the process.”
PROMISES UNDELIVERED. FOUNDATIONAL EXPIRICAL RESEARCH IS STILL UNAVAILABLE FROM THESE BITEMARK EXPERTS.
10. “Not surprisingly, the IP dislikes all forensic odontologists who engage in bite-mark analysis, and especially those who have rigorously achieved board-certified status from the most respected credentialing organization that exists, the American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABOF)” [sic].
THE ABFO DOES NOT TEST ITS APPLICANTS FOR ACCURACY IN THEIR “RIGOROUS ACHIEVEMENT.” THE ENTRANCE EXAM FOR APPLICANTS IS DEVOID OF ACCURACY METHODOLOGY. THE ABFO RECERTIFICATION EXAM FORCES THE TEST TAKER TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ANSWER BEFORE MOVING TO THE NEXT QUESTION. IN OTHER WORDS, THE CORRECT ANSWERS ARE GIVEN TO THE ABFO RE-CERTIFYING MEMBERS.
11. “…shows that only 10 of them were reversed from DNA evidence,”
THE ‘COLLATERAL DAMAGE’ BLAMED ON ‘ROGUES.’ HERE ARE THE 24 ROGUES. iN CASE YOU MISSED IT IN ITEM 5 Description of Bite Mark Exonerations and Arrests
12. “…bite-mark evidence has le[a]d to children, who would have otherwise ended up dead, being removed from an abusive environment.”
A ‘RED HERRING’ REGULARLY IN USE BY THE ABFO PUBLIC SPEAKERS. THE TRUTH IS, RECOGNIZING BITEMARK INJURIES AND THE VALIDATED USE OF DNA FROM A BITTEN SURFACE IS NOT THE BASIS OF IP NETWORK AND NAS CRITICISMS.
13. “Just because the science has been abused doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value..”
ITS VALUE IS IN BM RECOGNITION TO FOCUS INVESTIGATORS TO THE NEED TO COLLECT SAMPLES CONTAINING SALIVARY DNA.
In the bitemark “status” chapter, the ABFO’s past president acknowledged that “a more refined and scientifically verifiable version is necessary.”
Maybe some Supreme Court justices in Mississippi will spend time to understand what that really means.