The premise in ballistics is that all these casings might be considered “unique.”
This “new look” at ballistics from the Aaron Hernandez conviction is similar to the back and forth decades-long argument against the now debunked “hair matching” in four areas:
- Identifying people and objects to a single source. either being a specific gun or person.
- Both have been forensic “workhorses” for the FBI and their progeny in US police crime labs.
- Police crime lab communities stands fast that all is “well.”
- Final decision-making usually falls on non-science trained judges and lawyers to decide what threshold of proof are sufficient for our justice systems.
excerpt from the Boston Globe:
The scrutiny now includes the field of firearms analysis, often called ballistics, after a report last month by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology questioned whether the science of analyzing firearms is sound enough to support the standard of proof that is constitutionally required for a criminal conviction.
The report has already sent ripples throughout legal and law enforcement communities, including in Massachusetts, as lawyers in one of the state’s most high-profile cases – the Suffolk County murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez – asked a judge earlier this month to toss expert testimony related to a firearm police have linked to the case.