About

Dr. Mike Bowers is a practicing dentist in Ventura, CA. Dr. Bowers is a clinical associate professor at the University of Southern California. In addition, he is a licensed attorney and has assisted the Innocence Project Network in cases where forensic science has erroneously convicted innocent defendants throughout the US.  His latest book is “Forensic Testimony: Science, Law and Expert Evidence”  and “Forensic Dental Evd” available at Amazon.com.51thlZGjvsL_00341gBJMxHRcL

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28 Responses to About

  1. mike says:

    NIST Claims They Can Identify Hair Samples By Measuring The “Type of Shampoo” A Suspect Used!
    https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2016/11/nist-unveils-forensic-technique-measure-mechanical-properties-evidence

  2. mike says:

    Junk Science Warning: Cellphone Smudges Yield a Trove of Forensic Data:

    How long before this tech. is used to convict people?
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/cellphone-smudges-yield-a-trove-of-forensic-data-1479153602

  3. mike says:

    Forensic bitemark identification: weak foundations, exaggerated claims:
    https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/2544494/Forensic-bitemark-identification-weak-foundations

  4. mike says:

    Concerns as face recognition tech used to ‘identify’ criminals:

    Some face recognition experts question their methodology. One issue is that the criminal images came from a Chinese database of ID photos, whereas the non-criminal images were internet profile pictures belonging to Chinese citizens, meaning the system could have picked up on differences between the two sources rather than in people’s faces.

    Wu and Zhang tried to counteract this by standardizing the images, for example making them the same size and turning them greyscale. But Jonathan Frankle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that’s not enough. “The fact that the data comes from two different places is a fundamental flaw. Any differences will be picked up,” he says.

    It’s not a problem to ask a controversial question, says Francois Chollet, a deep learning researcher at Google, but the science has to be well founded. “It is not ethical to make a bad science argument,” he says.

    Mike Cook at Falmouth University, UK, says that this kind of research risks turning machine learning into the “phrenology of the 21st century”, like deducing a person’s traits from the bumps on their head. Seemingly impartial computer programs give an air of legitimacy to inaccurate or controversial interpretations. “Suddenly, the conclusions drawn by an algorithm have been cleaned up and made to look scientific,” he says.
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2114900-concerns-as-face-recognition-tech-used-to-identify-criminals/

  5. massprivatei says:

    Border Patrol Allowed to Guess People’s Passwords and use Cellbrite to Spy on Their Electronic Devices!

    A DHS officer took defendant’s Motorola phone, iPhone, and iPad from a Customs officer at the border when defendant was arrested for importing cocaine in her car. The Motorola phone wasn’t password protected, and it was examined with a Cellebrite device. “The Cellebrite device uses software to capture data which has not been deleted and would be visible to any manual user, including contact lists, pictures, and text messages.” She was questioned. Then the iPhone and iPad, which were password protected, were similarly searched when the officer correctly guessed the password: her birthday. This was a reasonable search under United States v. Cotterman, 709 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2013) (en banc) because it was not a forensic search. Assuming the password protection provided an added reasonable expectation of privacy, there was reasonable suspicion. United States v. Lopez, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176920 (S.D.Cal. Dec. 20, 2016):

    The fact that the iPhone and the iPad were password protected using the Defendant’s date of birth did not transform the Cellebrite search into the type of computer forensic examination used in Cotterman. Even assuming, however, that the password protection on the iPhone and the iPad required additional constitutional protections, any requirement for reasonable suspicion would have been met in this case. The agents were investigating the smuggling of controlled substances into the United States. The agents had a “particularized and objective basis for suspecting” that the devices searched would contain evidence of criminal activity. United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417, 101 S. Ct. 690, 66 L. Ed. 2d 621 (1981). Under the totality of the circumstances, the Court concludes that the search in this case did not violate Defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment.

    http://fourthamendment.com/?p=25179

  6. mike says:

    Lawyers raised doubts about Austin, TX., DNA lab work as early as 2009:

    The Forensic Science Commission’s report slammed the Austin Police Department lab for using outdated calculations that overstated the certainty of the results and were “neither scientifically valid nor supported by the DNA forensic community.” The use of old procedures to interpret test results means an expert witness theoretically could tell jurors that the chances are 1 in more than a billion that the genetic material in question belonged to someone other than the defendant, when those odds really are more like 1 in 100.

    The commission said employees weren’t properly trained and that the lab’s leaders refused to acknowledge their mistakes. They also identified one case in which mistakes put the wrong person under suspicion in a rape case.
    http://www.statesman.com/news/lawyers-raised-doubts-about-austin-dna-lab-work-early-2009/3XPHeUDcTLYMWt9DGu7LGN/

  7. mike says:

    First offender DNA sample that should have been destroyed under state law but wasn’t could be used in federal prosecution:
    http://fourthamendment.com/?p=25422

  8. joe says:

    Junk Science Warning: Smartwatch app, claims to be able verify handwritten signatures and detect even the most skilled forgeries:

    “Handwritten Signature Verification Using Hand-Worn Devices”
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311736780_Handwritten_Signature_Verification_Using_Hand-Worn_Devices

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mhtNvGaJfU

  9. mike says:

    Cornell University-AI Algorithms To Scan Faces to Determine Criminality:

    “We study, for the first time, automated inference on criminality based solely on still face images. Via supervised machine learning, we build four classifiers (logistic regression, KNN, SVM, CNN) using facial images of 1856 real persons controlled for race, gender, age and facial expressions, nearly half of whom were convicted criminals, for discriminating between criminals and non-criminals. All four classifiers perform consistently well and produce evidence for the validity of automated face-induced inference on criminality, despite the historical controversy surrounding the topic.”
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.04135

  10. joe says:

    Junk Science WARNING: Heart Monitor Data Leads to Mans Arrest For Arson & Fraud

    Police said data they were able to retrieve from his electronic heart monitor was one of the key pieces of evidence that led to them charging Ross Compton.

    According to court documents obtained by WLWT, a cardiologist told police that those actions were “highly improbable” because of Compton’s medical condition.

    Police sought to prove that by collecting electronic data stored in Compton’s electronic heart device. They wanted to know Compton’s heart rate, pacer demand and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire.

    Police told WLWT on Friday that it was an excellent investigative tool, and the information that was retrieved didn’t match Compton’s story.

    “It was one of the key pieces of evidence that allowed us to charge him,” Lt. Jimmy Cunningham said.
    http://www.wlwt.com/article/middletown-mans-electronic-heart-monitor-leads-to-his-arrest

  11. mike says:

    Texas Panel on Wrongful Convictions Calls for Ending Use of Unverified Drug Field Tests:
    https://www.propublica.org/article/texas-panel-wrongful-convictions-calls-end-use-unverified-drug-field-tests

  12. mike says:

    Junk Science? Criminal forensic ornithologists
    http://theweek.com/articles/677652/deadbird-detective

  13. mike says:

    TX Appeals court chides prosecutors, overturns sexual assault conviction:

    Saying that Tarrant County prosecutors made “misstatements of evidence” and misrepresented some facts to the degree that they “are not facts at all,” an appeals court overturned a child sexual assault conviction of a man who claimed he was simply acting as the girl’s caregiver.

    The Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth also entered a judgment of acquittal for Calub Bocanegra, who had been convicted of sexual assault of a child young than 14 in 2015 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
    http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article134840789.html

  14. joe says:

    Junk Science Warning: Researchers find that brain imagery shows difference between knowing or reckless behavior in criminal acts

    In a brain imaging study of 40 people, researchers identified brain responses that indicated whether people knew they were committing crimes or if they were instead acting recklessly with the risk that they might be committing a crime. (A study of 40 people isn’t scientific by any stretch.)

    The researchers provided the first neurobiological evidence of a detectable difference between the mental states of knowledge and recklessness, an exploration that historically has been confined to the courtroom.

    “People can commit exactly the same crime in all of its elements and circumstances, and depending on their mental states, the difference could be one would go to jail for 14 years and the other would get probation,” said Montague, who is the Virginia Tech Carilion Vernon Mountcastle Research Professor and director of the research institute’s Human Neuroimaging Laboratory. “Predicated on which side of the boundary you are on between acting knowingly and recklessly, you can differentially be deprived of your freedom.”

    http://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2017/03/neuromas-vtcri-03142017.html

  15. joe says:

    Thousands of Colorado DUI convictions could be in doubt amid forgery allegations:
    Colorado lawyers specializing in drunken-driving cases are questioning the validity of thousands of convictions after a technician who certified the state’s breath-test machines said his signature was forged on more than 100 records in 2013.

    In addition, a former laboratory director’s signature is still being used on some certificates more than a year after she left the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in July 2015. Those certificates are being used in DUI trials to prove machines were recording accurate blood-alcohol content.

    “This is the lab we’re asking to go into court and testify to the veracity of their machines,” said Darren Cantor, president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. “It really makes me question whether the CDPHE is capable of doing that.”
    http://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/14/colorado-dui-convictions-forgery-attorneys/

  16. csidds says:

    More evidence of police ‘oversight’ of forensics, regardless of certification by the commercial crime lab industry, is fraught with agenda conflicts and lack of fairness.

  17. joe says:

    Judge allows bite mark evidence 2017:
    Blair County judge has decided that bite mark evidence can be included in an upcoming murder retrial for Paul Aaron Ross, as long as the testimony reflects guidelines published by the American Board of Forensic Odontologists.

    http://www.altoonamirror.com/news/local-news/2017/03/judge-permits-bite-mark-evidence-for-ross-retrial/

  18. joe says:

    Illinois Supreme Court: Man Falsely Arrested For 7 Weeks Because of Vitmans Can Sue Police:

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave an Illinois man a new chance to sue the city of Joliet and its police officers who arrested him on trumped up charges and kept him in jail for nearly seven weeks.

    The 6-2 ruling ordered the federal appeals court in Chicago to reconsider a lawsuit filed by Elijah Manuel. Police arrested him in 2011 and falsely claimed he was in possession of the illegal drug known as ecstasy.

    The police persuaded a prosecutor that Manuel had illegal drugs and the prosecutor took the case to a grand jury and obtained an indictment. When prosecutors finally saw a police lab report showing that the pills Manuel had were vitamins, the indictment was dismissed.
    http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/The-Supreme-Court-is-giving-an-Illinois-man-a-new-chance-to-sue-a-Chicago-suburb-and-its-police-officers-who-arrested-him-on-trumped-up-charges-and-kept-him-in-jail-for-nearly-seven-week/id-e6591e8bb92f419cb750132e37436028

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