“Making Forensics Unsafe” – Again its the FBI pattern matchers.

(Image credit: ProPublica)

This has a familiar ring to it. More or less it is the “I can see it, even if you can’t” brand of accepted “scientific” testimony. This is the path of other forensic innovators who single-handedly advance their own version of “accuracy” and “probability.” In this story, a  pixel pushing FBI Image lab guy climbs the ladder by putting bad guys away and rises to the high atmosphere of the AAFS org.

Excerpt:

“Such shortcomings could have led judges to block image analysis from criminal trials. But Vorder Bruegge single-handedly built a body of case law that has kept the FBI unit’s testimony admissible in the courts. His 22-year-old comparison of bluejeans is the legal foundation for most photo comparison methods.

The FBI Lab’s image unit had routinely used unproven techniques since the 1960s, but Vorder Bruegge embraced and expanded them, according to court records and his published articles. At times, he has given jurors baseless statistics to say the risk of error was almost zero. Studies on several methods in the past decade have found them unreliable.

Today, Vorder Bruegge is one of the nation’s most influential crime lab scientists. He serves on the Forensic Science Standards Board, which sets rules for every field, from DNA to fingerprints. He’s a co-chair organizing the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting this week in Baltimore, a gathering of thousands of crime lab professionals, researchers, lawyers and judges.”

https://www.propublica.org/article/fbi-scientists-statements-linked-defendants-to-crimes-even-when-his-lab-results-didnt

 

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Judging The Value of Forensic Evidence | Inside Science

A legal eagle (judge) says judges are a “quick study” about science. Thats still not science. Their messed up case decisions serve as proof. Some prosecutors take advantage. (Inside Science) — According to Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, at the Southern District of New York, “Forensic science continues to be routinely admitted by the courts, both state and federal, even though considerable doubts have now been raised as to whether forensic science really is science at all, and whether it is reliable and valid.”
— Read on www.insidescience.org/video/judging-value-forensic-evidence

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#AAFS2019 Take a look at the AAFS forensic dentists’ “transparency” problems as the: Innocence Project Sues for Access to Museum’s Bite Mark Archive | New York Law Journal

The wrongful conviction exoneration group says the federally-run National Museum of Health and Medicine violated its First Amendment rights by denying it access to the archives of a prominent national odontology group that in the past promoted the now-controversial forensic bite mark analysis.
— Read on www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/02/20/innocence-project-sues-for-access-to-museums-bite-mark-archive/

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Forensic bias of CPS abuse doctors analyzed, revealed, and needs fixing.

files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2019/02/11144816/2019-02-RR-Brown-CFC-Reforming-Use-of-Child-Abuse-Pediatric-Teams-in-CPS1.pdf

Posted in Bad Forensic Science, forensic pathology, Forensic Science Bias, Medical errors | Leave a comment

Forensics: Journals in forensics need a dose of this….

Integrity analyis for publishers and authors. My biggest concerns:

1) doctored data and images.

2) over-reaching conclusions.

3) Influence of funding sources (i.e. commmercial and USDOJ).

4) Cronyism and bias camouflaged as “support for high ethical standards” to mask critics’ personal malice.

https://www.statnews.com/2018/11/21/research-misconduct-journals-hiring-research-integrity-czars/

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Forensics: The tip of the iceberg of Trump’s shutdown. Declined attendance at Forensic Conferences like the AAFS

(photo credits: Forensic Magazine). The American Academy of Forensic Science annual meeting is next month in Baltimore. The AAFS has a large percentage of crime labbers, students, and related government forensics-types who use the week-long meetings for education, networking, and sharing forensic research presentations. That meeting could become a mere trickle of its former self if Trump pulls the plug on government for a second time on Feb 15. Trump and his minions have a track record of deleting Executive branch efforts to improve police forensic methods and practices.  here, here, here and here.

https://www.forensicmag.com/news/2019/02/aafs-2019-government-shutdown-threat-could-stymie-forensic-conference?platform=hootsuite

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Forensics: More of the usual police rush to do their own DNA testing without Validating the “Black Box.”

Image result for black box science

Another short piece of “WTF” about law enforcement over-zealous main line adoption of their in-house “novel” methods. Precautions cast aside are:

“Yet as recent coverage of the police rollout of these devices makes clear, the advent of Rapid DNA introduces a host of concerns. We lack much meaningful oversight of forensic science or police technology in this country. These machines are unvalidated. They use proprietary “black box” technology, so that no one, least of all the people using them, knows precisely how they work. They make errors and destroy samples, but we do not know how often.”

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/column-just-how-reliably-does-this-police-black-box-test-dna-20190205/

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Forensics and Law: Lack of scientific concerns shows its ugly head in the US Supreme Court

Image result for stare decisis

Take a look at this short op-ed about how the highest US court handles junk police forensics. This time the subject is dog sniffing dogs as probable cause for the police to ransack your house. Lawyers need more Science 101 in their training. Unfortunately, they only learn about “stare decisis.” (AKA: don’t change from the past).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/05/supreme-courts-alternative-facts-about-drug-sniffing-dogs/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4d7adb89f0d8

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Forensics: Police Discover Oregon Cold Case Killer Was Executed By Texas In 1999.

A striking example of how serial murderers cross the country killing their victims. It also clarifies how nationwide genealogy DNA databases connect police departments separated geographically and the inadequacies of the US federal CODIS system.

https://www.forensicmag.com/news/2019/02/police-discover-oregon-cold-case-killer-was-executed-texas-1999?et_cid=6595071&et_rid=498417758&type=cta&et_cid=6595071&et_rid=498417758&linkid=https%3a%2f%2fwww.forensicmag.com%2fnews%2f2019%2f02%2fpolice-discover-oregon-cold-case-killer-was-executed-texas-1999%3fet_cid%3d6595071%26et_rid%3d%%subscriberid%%%26type%3dcta

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The fascinating backstory of the periodic table, which is about to turn 150 years old – Los Angeles Times

Scientists around the world will be celebrating the 150th birthday of the periodic table this week. Here’s the backstory of how the table came together.
— Read on www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-periodic-table-150-birthday-20190131-story.html

Finally. Something I remember from high school.

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