Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Science Shows Up in the Courtroom. Finally.

Posted by Maggie on November 19, 2007

The layman has probably not heard about all the debunking that has been going on of late for many tried-and-true prosecuting techniques. You probably haven’t heard the studies on eyewitness identification that show just how biased you can make your witness and what techniques help with memory. You probably didn’t hear that the science of bitemarks has been shot down and that the expert who traveled the country testifying that he could match a bite to a person’s mouth was full of crap. And you may not have heard about the lead bullet analysis the FBI has quietly stopped doing after it put people in jail for years.

If you are of the not-yet-informed, here are some helpful links. The Washington Post reports on one particular case that may get overturned. It’s a nice thorough run-through of the facts of the original case and just how they screwed it up. Sadly, he’s already been in prison for over a decade. Simple Justice has his take here.

Eyewitness Identification Reform Blog is a great source for ongoing news. This post is one citing studies showing just how bad id’s do at convicting.

Here is info from The Innocence Project on the bite mark debacle.

Even fingerprints have been challenged. These cases all show that as defense attorneys we need to challenge every kind of science that comes into the courtroom, no matter how familiar it is.


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