Cop Forensic Fail – DNA collection compliance sketchy to non-existent

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This is in South Carolina. Police in each county are mandated to collect from suspected felons. Some do and some don’t. Here’s why data collection by law enforcement should contain large numbers of profiles in order to have proper racial diversity.

“A 2017 study done at Stanford University found that state DNA databases “deter crime by profiled offenders, reduce crime rates and are more cost-effective than traditional law enforcement tools.” And the bigger the database, the better the results. A similar study showed that simply adding offenders’ DNA profile to a database reduced recidivism by 43 percent, presumably because they know they are more likely to be caught in the future with a DNA “fingerprint” on file.”

It is well known and discussed that certain law enforcement and District Attorneys have created their own DNA databases which are not linked to national archives. This issue is roundly dismissed by those agencies. Some say it is done intentionally to avoid regulations.

The SC Post and Courier

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Another junk forensic bitemark case gets reversed – Swinton exonerated after 17 years – DAs still using bitemarks

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This makes 30 cases the infamous practitioners of “forensic” odontology have contributed to false convictions and indictments.

Needless to say, the few existing adherents to bitemark voodoo are still alive and well as members of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. This bunch still refuses to act on all the past cases where their esteemed members have brought their brand of “trust me I’m a doctor”  into criminal courts. Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington’s book, “The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” brings this bitemark bunk into clear perspective.

Incredibly, some DA s are spending $$ to hire ABFOers (that’s their logo above left) to come to evidentiary hearings to talk about how they have met data-research based scientific requirements for admissibility. This is after the NAS 2009 and PCAST blew them up.

Here’s a couple of the go-to bitemarkers showing up  at scheduled Daubert hearing in New Orleans. The case is all about bitemarks,  its beleaguered past of wrongful convictions, and failed validity efforts.

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Paula Brumit from Texas.

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David Senn from Texas where both ABFO presidents (one past pres; the other pres-elect) went to the mat for bitemarks during the Texas Forensic Commission’s “scrutiny” of bitemarks and wrongful convictions. They lost their proverbial shorts and soon thereafter Steven Mark Chaney was released from years in prison. Here he is with his Mom.

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Here’s THAT story titled “Lives in  Balance, Texas Leads Scrutiny of Bite-Mark Forensics. “

On to the Swinton exoneration.

Posted in AAFS, ABFO, Bite Marks, Bitemarks, forensic science misconduct, forensic science reform protecting the innocent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s DOJ promises advancing good things for #Forensic #Science – #PCAST not so much

The governmental missives about improving forensics always gloss over or ignore what the NAS 2009 report and the 2016 PCAST report itemized as areas needing reform.

Here we go:

“The new guidance implements additional quality assurance measures based on science-informed practices, enhances forensic capacity and efficiency, and increases coordination and collaboration between the Department and state, local, and federal partners.”

Apparently Latent Print FEDERAL examiners have been given  limit to what assurances of a “match” exists from their analyses.

Anyone else care to elaborate??

How about reviewing past practices of the use of forensics in cases where the innocent have been convicted?  To read this DOJ PIO report, that never happens.



Posted in Bite Marks, costs of wrongful convictions, criminal justice reform, CSI, forensic science misconduct, forensic science reform protecting the innocent | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More examples of sub-standard death investigations by law enforcement – evidence ignored and bias from the beginning

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This case has parents suing a Coroners Office to reopen their daughter’s death investigation. They argue that the actual crime scene was never processed and the circumstances of the young woman’s death raise significant questions regarding the death being suspicious.

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Battle for freedom in another bitemark conviction heats up – DNA evidence from crime scene including murder weapon #AAFS

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The John Kunco case in Pennsylvania goes back in my case archives for over 12 years. Early in Mr. Kunco’s post conviction appeals, the opinions of two famous bitemark experts ( at least as far as they are concerned ) used at trial have been re-analyzed, excoriated and explicitly considered junk. A cohort of very dedicated appellate attorneys have worked his case. That would be Craig Cooley, Dana Delgar, and Chris Fabricant of the Innocence Projects.

In November 2017, over the protests of the Prosecutors (after all they had the bitemark evidence; recently recanted by the two prosecution dentists), advanced DNA testing on crime evidence (including the murder weapon) was approved.

Plan to hear more on these testing results very soon. I’ve been told an unknown male profile was developed in this new testing.

Here is the article from November announcing the successful DNA motion by the Innocence Project.

This blog has had a few things to say about Kunco’s bitemark identifier.

  1. How Bitemark evidence is still operating at the appellate level – The Kunco Case
  2. Forensics: 2d bitemark opinion in the John Kunco case. Where is justice for him? #ADA
  3. Another ridiculous bitemark case emerges into public view after 30+ years
Posted in AAFS, ABFO, Bite Marks, Bitemarks, DNA profiling, forensic science reform protecting the innocent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sloppy and incompetent cop forensic experts at it again in the Holtzclaw case. #AAFS #Junk #Forensics

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Holtzclaw is an ex-cop accused and convicted of numerous sexual assaults under the color of authority. The State’s DNA case against him lacks a serious amount of due process and quality control.  This article has recontructionist Brent Turvey talking about how a police officer’s bare hands transferred some DNA of Holtzclaw into an evidence bag.  That’s all it takes to contaminate. The State experts say it never happens.

More looks into this case.

Deleted police crime lab emails reach 4000. 

Video interview show about Holtzclaw’s case after his conviction.

Posted in Forensic Science Bias, forensic science misconduct, forensic science reform protecting the innocence | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Molecular determining Time of Death (TOD) gets some News – #AAFS #Forensics

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All of this is very interesting, but is not yet ready for Prime Time by any means. Humoral changes after death are many and extremely varied. Of course, DNA structures are now being looked at the University of Perth, Australia, in Spain and elsewhere.

Another current look at “gene expression” research in TOD research.

Here’s the old-school look at TOD determinations.

More comments on a ‘mathematical’ approach to the many factors being studied.

Here’s a case from a previous blog on how TOD can be botched at the initial crime scene and then allows Prosecutors to spin their stories at trial. 

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Anti-PCAST District Attorney Says Bitemark Analysis Opponents Are “Flawed”

Non-science Prosecutors like to exaggerate quite a lot when their past convictions used junk science. Their understanding of “science” really means that the old methods still work. Just like the “Flat-Earthers” from the Middle Ages.

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

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This National DA Assoc president works in San Bernardino County, among other things a place where bitemarks helped put an innocent Bill Richards in prison for 23 years.


Ramos (campaigning for California’s Attorney General post and pro death penalty) has a sterling opinion about bitemark “matching.” Here is his and his org’s “final” 7 page response to the President’s Science Council’s Report. The part about teeth is excerpted below in italics.

As a colleague of mine puts it (in bold):

The NDAA letter to PCAST grossly overstates the success of testimony against University of Buffalo bitemark studies. Never were the studies “thoroughly discredited in court.” Almost similar to saying the possibility of someone else having the same dentition as “one in a million”. The rest of  the commentary is also interesting, including the use of specialized computer programs ( Adobe Photoshop? ) to perform analysis.

Forensic Odontology

Forensic dentists…

View original post 350 more words

Posted in AAFS, ABFO, Bite Marks, costs of wrongful convictions, forensic science reform protecting the innocence, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK judicial system seems to be strangling on budget cuts and court closures

Of course , this is just the tip of the iceberg, as Internet savvy barristers talk about being pressured to accept cases for very little reimbursement. Automation in scheduling appearances, testimony and adjudication by non-lawyers in petty cases describes a much disjointed jumble. The “Lord Chancellors of Justice” have been political appointees for the most part. This article below says that has recently changed.

Another side of Justice in the UK involves forensics privatization, dependence on outside vendors, and problems with quality control and standards that mirrors events in the US.

UK Criminal Justice in the UK at a breaking point after years of unstable leadership. 

Here’s a lingering forensic scandal in the UK that involves a private vendor messing around with over 6000 crime scene specimens. 

This article says the number of suspect conviction cases exceeds 10,000. 

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Anti-Junk forensics legislation continues to use bitemark “identifications” in the battle against false convictions.


Keith Harvard. Conviction in 1982. Released in 2016.

So far, two states in the US have generated new laws which allow inmates to contest dubious, outmoded or outright false claims of forensic ‘experts’ used to aid their convictions.

Texas and California legislatures used false arson and bitemarkers exaggerated and unsupported claims of “science” to expand the appellate courts’ considering claims of erroneous conviction and imprisonment.

Today, the state of Virginia is working towards being the third. Keith Harvard’s release from decades of incarceration again puts the focus on bitemark gurus.  

The above article declares bitemark identification to be, “now known to be completely erroneous.”

California’s legislation was produced from Bill Richards.

The Texas case came from Steven Chaney.

All these bitemark cases had senior and self-proclaimed distinguished members of the US bitemark group, the American Board of Forensic Odontology (dentistry) as prosecution experts.  Incredibly, this bunch is sponsoring a bitemark training session at the upcoming American Academy of Forensic Sciences convention in Seattle.

List of Exonerations involving false bitemarker testimony is here:  The Innocence Project Bite Mark Exonerations and Arrests



Posted in AAFS, ABFO, Bite Marks, Bitemarks, criminal justice reform, forensic science reform protecting the innocent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment