‘We are going backward’: How the justice system ignores science in the pursuit of convictions
— Read on www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna961256
Good look at the shutdown of scientific progress in police forensics by the powers in control of the labs and criminal justice in the US. The resistance is froom the police and prosecutors.
“Grits” runs us the story on the enormous effort undertaken in Texas to teach judges and prosecutors that bitemarks are the spawn of the alchemists and soothsayers among us.
Grits for Breakfast legal blog
The timeline of getting TX courts to include “junk forensics” as legitimate grounds for appeal.
As usual in these innocence cases, it took decades to overcome the inequities of flawed and exaggerated forensic experts. In this case, Steven Chaney is has been finally declared “actually innocent” and will receive $2.5 million for his decades in prison. The bitemarkers who still sing their practices of “matching” patterns in human skin were hoisted on their own petard by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court reaffirmed the findings of the 2009 NAS Report and numerous real scientists which rejected their years of posing as “dental scientists.”
Here is the CCA holding on bitemarks. Chaney CCA
Lets say again, that almost any excuse can be used by some courts to deny that junk forensic testimony should be a threshold for a successful request for a new trial.
(Image: the concept of worms causing dental decay)
Yet another confirmation that the “rule of law” used in courts of review supersedes unspeakable injustice of failed expert testimony used to convict. This story indicates the prosecutors philosophy of “once convicted, always convicted” travels up-hill into the judiciary regardless of its known failures to understand bad “science” from “good science.”
This story is about a MD who has a strange habit of giving opinion evidence in child abuse cases cloaked as sound science. Works for him. One court called him out on it.
Another look at bitemark “experts” running amok. Most people are introduced to forensic science through TV and film, and because of this we have come to see forensic techniques as foolproof methods for solving crimes. But many forensic science techniques were not developed by scientists.
— Read on video.vice.com/en_us/video/faulty-forensics-put-me-on-death-row/5bd0a140be4077624e3fc6b9
This story reveals that the obstacles and reluctance to review convictions aided by junk sciences can be overcome. State by state. Too bad the bitemarker bunch (http://www.abfo.org ) refuse to make good their promises to do this in Texas. A real bunch of AHs.
“The problem with such a review is that there are about a million case files in the archives from between 1973 and 1994 that need to be digitized and searched. The cases already digitized also need to be scrutinized.
Record keeping involving case transcripts is not uniform in Virginia, meaning in some instances, the written records of examiners’ courtroom testimonies may have already been destroyed or filed away in hard-to-retrieve places.”
This story is from Florida. It could be from any state in the US. DAs always roll towards preserving their convictions. This makes platitudinous statements about “justice” from Attorney Generals and their deputies hollow, pathological mythomania.
This is is commonly what happens once DNA testing is done AFTER a conviction. One of the problems is the cost of post conviction testing that has to be borne by the Innocence Project and other innocence litigators. Donate to the Innocence Project for DNA testing.
Many of the #FreeCA12 clients are stuck in prison because there was no DNA collected by law enforcement. Donate to the Cal Western Innocence Project.
“The case highlights the power of advanced techniques to definitively shut long-unsolved cases. But these new forensic excavations also underscore how far off initial hunches or once-promising leads can be, particularly when the perpetrator is a random actor. Britton’s death was a seemingly single act of violence that now has been threaded into a serial pattern. According to Middlesex County, Sumpter has been connected with five sexual assaults, including three murders.”