This is just a hit-or-miss snapshot of comments and shows diversity to say the least.
Go to………”A wake-up call on the junk forensic science infesting our courtrooms” for the 164 comments at its end. By HTEdwards and JMnookin.
Some folks show shock and concern. Others expect the pro-prosecutorial over confidence in “police sciences” to continue.
- CSI makes prosecutors jobs easier by implying that their techniques are foolproof and unbiased when they are not. Every forensics lab in the US is controlled by police and prosecutors and are set up to provide them the “evidence” they need to convict even if it ‘s based on plausible-sounding junk. Locally the supervisor of the DNA lab at the DC Forensics lab is the girlfriend of the lead prosecutor in DNA cases. The current director has specifically stated in her confirmation testimony that the labs job is to assist police and prosecutors. She never even suggested that accurate results should take precedence over what the needs of the prosecution.
- A case in point is the supposed “freeway shooter” in the Phoenix area. After arresting someone, having Governor “Pretty Boy” Ducey say, “We got him”, discovering the guy’s gun was in a pawnshop at the time of the last shooting and trying to make everyone believe that the shooter caused the accident by shooting into a tire several days before the accident happened, Phoenix, the County Attorney, etc., are all named in a huge lawsuit because other forensics experts says the so called shooter’s gun could not have fired any of the recovered bullets.More money to lawyers and to the falsely accused and higher insurance premiums all because of “junk science”.
- (responding the #2.) That’s not an example of “junk science”. Rather it is an example of either corruption on the part of the forensics staff, or of incompetence on the part of the forensics staff. The ability to prove that a particular bullet (projectile) came from a particular weapon is well documented, with error rates able to be calculated. If the examination of the projectile is performed in the same manner as the tests that resulted in predicable and accurate results then the scientific process has been followed.
- Evidence such as bite marks and latent fingerprints are eminently reliable — they show what they show (approximate tooth patterns and skin-ridge patterns). What appears to cause the authors dismay is the conclusiveness that jurors may attach to such evidence. In fact, the authors indicate that they understand the “problem” behind juror’s conclusions:
That is, the problem is not the evidence itself (some of which, like bite patterns, maynot be very specific to individuals), but rather in the ability of defense counsel to explain the significance (or lack thereof) of the evidence to jurors.
5. Continuing the example, the serious shortcoming of a typical bite mark is that it isn’t very specific (usually). Everybody has about the same number of teeth, in about the same place. Barring some really unusual tooth arrangements, a bite mark generally won’t tell you much about who made it. Thus, in a criminal case in which a bite mark is photographed, the photo should be admissible, but should generally be of relatively little probative value.