Reliance upon the adversary system to prevent wrongful convictions and weed out junk science requires a leap of faith that ultimately undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system. The PCAST report is yet another wake-up call for the criminal justice system to correct the shortcomings of forensic science. We demand that guilt be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; we should also demand accurate and reliable forensics. Shah — Oxford, Aberdeenshire. A Modern Engineer — Edinburgh, Midlothian. Screen music and the question of originality - Miguel Mera — London, Islington.
Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Is any forensic science valid? What does a firing pin indentation on a bullet really tell us? Risks of lacking validity When forensic methods are not validated but nevertheless perceived as reliable, wrongful convictions happen. What happens if the forensic evidence that convicted you is flimsy? What should be admissible? You might also like Genetic techniques can help make pollen useful for cracking criminal cases. Karen L.
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I come up with one.
Here's one with a couple of similarities, a couple of more, a couple of more. By the time I got to 15, I said, "This looks like an identification. And from that point on, I kind of felt like the train to a death penalty just pulled out of the station. Two weeks into his detention, he had to decide whether he would testify or exercise his right to remain silent. I was either going to testify or not talk. And— [ chokes up ] You have to excuse me, because it was difficult. I waited and I waited.
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And my attorney showed up, and he said, "Brandon," he said, "we just learned— we just learned it ourselves," that the Spanish police had identified this latent fingerprint as belonging to an Algerian. No time before in history had there ever been two fingerprints with 15 minutiae that were not the same person. Under our past standards, I was right. But I was wrong. I had made an error. And so had every other examiner that looked at the print. So therefore, when I heard that it was an error, I knew the ground had shifted somewhere, and indeed it had.
The real question is, is some part of your fingerprint sufficiently similar to some part of his that a competent examiner might mistake some part of your print for a part of somebody else's print?
Evidence Collection | HowStuffWorks
Well, that's exactly what happened with Brandon Mayfield. Unlike fingerprint analysis on television, machines do not make a match, people do. There is no objective criteria.
It's a subjective judgment of the fingerprint examiner. Itiel Dror, a cognitive neuroscientist based in London, is one of the world's leading authorities on fingerprint analysis. He says that examiners can be influenced by bias. We're talking about dedicated, hard-working, honest, competent forensic examiners. Dror says this is cognitive bias. And in a study to show how strong that bias can be, he took real cases — where examiners had found a match — changed the descriptions of the crime, and then asked the same examiners to analyze them again.
It changed their perception and judgment, and over half said it is not a match. Dror did, the examiners changed their mind, over half of them. Dror when he's talking about cognitive bias. I certainly wouldn't say percent certain or zero error rate. I would want to explain any of those things if I was asked about them.
I think it is a rare case when they get it wrong. And you know, the critics can scream all they want, but it's a very vital part of our criminal justice system. We get it right most of the time. The Mayfield case is the anomaly. It is the rare exception. And to hold that up as somehow representative of what goes on in courtrooms across America is just wrong. How can he say that you get it right most of the time? How did he know that it's not the tip of the iceberg? To say that Mayfield is an anomaly in a single case is naive, at best.
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Court of Appeals: The courts had been misled for a long time because we had been told, my colleagues and I, by some experts from the FBI that fingerprint comparisons involved essentially a zero error rate, without our ever understanding that's completely inaccurate. Edwards is a federal judge on the U.
He's an authority on the forensic sciences. We caught up with him in New York, where he agreed to an exclusive interview. EDWARDS: If some people are saying, "It works because we've gotten convictions," that is to say nothing more than juries and judges have believed that experts knew what they were talking about, and so they bought it and they convicted. That's not proof that the discipline is undergirded by serious science.
If you're experience or practice has been inaccurate and wrong for many years, it doesn't become better because it's many years.
It's just many years of doing it incorrectly. And the stakes are too high. When you're talking about prosecution, incarceration, the stakes are too high. And it's that sound— not only does it keep me up at night, it's what drives me to make sure that I don't hear it again. I want to find justice for these people. They deserve justice. Their family deserves justice.
Obviously, a hollow-point bullet. And what's important is the characteristics that are left on that copper jacketing. It has the markings.
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Hopefully, we can find something that will help us link that bullet to that gun. Evidence is extremely important in any investigation.