Another judge as “gatekeeper” keeps the ball rolling for fibers, oks DNA, and fingerprints

Image result for confused jury

Just another day for a judge allowing certain forensic info into a trial in order to have the jury decide on the ‘scientific facts.’ The biggest ‘if’ I have about this case is the fiber person saying “the same clothing” found at the crime scene leads to the defendant Fell.  From this determination, the jury then gets arguments from both the DA and Defense about linkage.

The CSI part of the expert using pictures and a microscope passed the judge’s muster as it is established means of “identification” albeit with “limitations.” Being laypersons regarding forensics ‘matching,’ the jury easily takes the a practical alternative to understanding what ‘limitations’ means according to the dueling lawyers and choose whichever side it ‘likes.’

Two weeks ago, this is what the President’s Science Council and the federal Judicial College talked about what is wrong [aka ‘overreaching’] with the low entry standard of certain expert opinions. This judge may have missed the boat and ruled fibers admissible using the legal standard of relevance as he misses the scientific part of the Federal Rules of Evidence 702. It should be emphasized that it’s the DA [lawyer] that develops what meets the relevant threshold being a lawyer. Its not anywhere close to the term “reliable” threshold which is scientific and just as ‘relevant.’

(excerpt)

“Koch [the expert] also testified that she had been told Fell [defendant] and Lee [a co-defendant] were wearing the same clothing at the time of their arrest several days later in Arkansas that they had been wearing at the time of the crime.

The government argued Koch’s conclusions are relevant “because they associate Fell and Lee with the crime scene, and corroborate Fell’s statements,” according to court documents.”

Full article

About csidds

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