DC considering tightening rules to combat junk science in its courts

Talk about partisan politics in the judicial system. Washington DC lawyers (plantiffs lawyers of course. They sue people in civil courts mostly on a contingency basis) are whining (lets call it like it is) about the DC judiciary thinking about shifting their rules for expert testimony to the Daubert/Kumho standard in use since the middle 1990’s by the majority of US states.

Their current standard for acceptance is the antique Frye Rule which is almost 100 years old. It allows “general acceptance” by a “community” to pass muster for courtroom acceptance. The definition of “community” seems to be any group greater than 2.

This new discussion is spurred by an awareness and a statement that “false or misleading” expert testimony is the primary reason for wrongful convictions in criminal cases.

Actually, that last is incorrect. False eyewitness testimony is the greatest reason. Experts come second. Read about that here.


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, costs of wrongful convictions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to DC considering tightening rules to combat junk science in its courts

  1. John Lentini says:

    According to the Innocence Project, it is true that faulty forensics contributed to 49% of the first 316 wrongful convictions, but when broken down over time (79-84, 85-89, 90-95 and 96+) the number has fallen to 23% (still too high). Faulty forensics has yielded second place to false confessions, which now account for 39% of wrongful convictions since 1996. When the microscopic hair comparison exonerations start coming in, forensics may rise again in the ratings.

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