False forensic testing adds to growing mistrust of cops, their labs and prosecutors

A couple of telling articles call again for the public to understand how the relationship between cops , their crime labs and prosecutors lead to false convictions via intimidating suspects into pleading guilty via misused field testing kits.

Barry Scheck talking………

“……..innocent people pleading guilty in drug possession cases across the country based on false positive presumptive field tests reveals such miscarriages of justice are far more common — tens of thousands of cases — than even the most cynical suspected.”

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A shocking reminder on how reliant prosecutors are reliant on plea deals. 95% of their convictions never go to trials. Added motivators to “plea out” are  prosecutors’ consistent use of “over-charging” for those indicted of crimes. Read The Marshall Project‘s “The Gatekeepers.”

The forensic crime lab connection.

“Want to know just how much our criminal justice system relies on plea-bargaining and how rarely prosecutions result in the kinds of jury trials we see on TV? Look no further than the story of Annie Dookhan, the disgraced Boston-area drug laboratory chemist whose egregious corner-cutting over a decade of work may have compromised more than 24,000 convictions in Massachusetts”

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As an add on to these topics are two US Congressional bills going towards a federal commission on forensic standards and “best practices” standards. Peter Neufeld has this to say about HR 5795 and S 325. How this would affect state based crime lab practices and testimony is a conundrum to say the least.

“We applaud Senator Blumenthal and Congresswoman Johnson for taking the lead in ensuring that the forensic tools used by law enforcement across the nation are based on the best possible science and are guided by meaningful and consistent standards.  Providing law enforcement with scientifically backed forensic tools that aid in accurately identifying the real assailants is the best way to protect everyone’s safety while also insuring that innocent people are not wrongly accused and convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.  We look forward to working with Members of both chambers to pass this critical legislation.”

 

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in Crime lab scandal, criminal justice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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