Houston crime lab needs to look into its bitemark experts’ current casework

The inquiry of the Texas Forensic Science Commission on bitemark evidence casework has opened a window into over 30 cases involving this debunked use of skin injuries purported to be like fingerprints.

What’s unsaid are data about any current cases of bitemarks being used in criminal investigations and pending prosecutions within Texas. They do exist and some District Attorneys have not been swayed by media reporting and the comments from the Commission on why using a bitemark expert to aid a prosecution is dangerous and highly likely to be incorrect. The bitemark people are usually itinerants having some loose connection to Forensic Biology or Forensic Pathology units throughout the state.

The Commission will publish an opinion on the bitemark debate in a few weeks. Maybe that will wake up DAs in Texas and elsewhere who like the bitemarkers history of gaining a conviction.

The Houston forensics lab is a good example of how similar goofs are still occurring in forensic lab protocols and performance despite the lab’s reorganization and new directors.

 

 

About csidds

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