Frye Rule still lives in NY: Judge rules disagreement of DNA experts boots NYCME LCN DNA

New York justice is an amazing blend of wildcard judicial decisions about what are “scientifically” reliable methods in order to allow expert forensic testimony. I’m amazed that a NY judge in a 2 1/2 year (!!!) Frye hearing on the issue surrounding a 10 year long use of “new age” highly-sensitive DNA (LowCellNumber aka HS) matching by law enforcement just ruled that:

……………including live testimony from 11 scientists, Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer decided not to admit so-called “lower copy number” or “high-sensitivity” analysis and the DNA “Statistical Tool.” Dwyer said that the New York Medical Examiner is the only public laboratory in the United States that employs the technique in criminal cases. Read more. This DNA admissibility battle reflects what is going on in the large industry of crime lab DNA about disagreement on stats, DNA matching algorithms (“the tool”) and personal attacks at the Innocence Project’s  co-directors by the New York State crime lab.

Back to the ruling on the NY office of the Medical Examiner as a conudrum about “science and the law.” 

Another NY judge using the Frye Rule, in the Dean case of bitemark/murder, ruled against excluding a “bitemark-reader” after hearing from Prosecutor Melissa Mourges massaging the truth about “bitemarkers” abysmal reliability, their history of…..

1. helping convict or incarcerate innocent defendants, and not needing empirical research to support “soft forensic science,” (24 cases to date),

2. “only real-world” bitemark dentists (there are only about 4 left in the US) rather than legitimate researchers being credible scientific witnesses, and

3. that the infamous bitemark evangelist Michael West and myself are “thankfully no longer testifying” in US courts.

Radley Balko blew up (using facts rather than personal attacks like the good DA lady) Mourges and her 2 bitemark experts in this excellent piece from February 2015. A bite mark matching advocacy group just conducts a study that discredits bite mark evidence. 


About csidds

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