Washing Away of Wrongs- the 'Cons' of Forensic Science
Washing Away of Wrongs:The “Cons” of Forensic Science
Simple DefinitionSimply put, Forensic Science is theattempt to apply Medical Science andother types of data to a crime scene inorder to ascertain what occurredHowever, CSI shows do not accuratelyportray the trade
History of Forensics1st written record 1248,“Washing Away ofWrongs” Described difference between evidence of strangulation and drowning Used Forensic Entomology1598 Fortunatus was firstto practice ModernForensics19th Century- Medicalknowledge recognized asa legitimate way toanalyze crime scenes.
So What is Wrong With Forensic Science?No true licensingorganization dedicated tooversee and punishwrong doingNo research/ scientificbaselines everestablished for mostbranches Widely differing ‘standards’ vary by locale Often expert witnesses are NOT Many times findings based on ‘feeling’ and opinion not objective science
Debunked Forensic MethodsExamination of Salivaand tongue Used dried rice in the mouthBullet-lead Belief that each batch was chemically uniqueVisits from “The ChalkFairy”
Bite MarksMany people have been wrongly convictedbased on bite mark evidence One such man lacked two front teeth, yet a full bite mark landed him in prison! The “Dentition Expert” was adamant it matched
Bite MarksThe uniqueness ofhuman dentitionnever establishedTransfer of a uniquepattern to human skinnot establishedAbility of skin tomaintain that patternnot established.63% error rate hasbeen cited
Hair AnalysisHair Analysis is only Wrongly Accused:conclusive enough to Donald E Gatesshow certain Was convicted incharacteristics. 1982 based on hair Cannot be used to ID evidence specific person FBI Analysis claimed Has place but should hair found at scene never be used to ID was “microscopically person indistinguishable from Only DNA extracted Gates’ hair from root could be Served 28 years conclusive before found innocent!
Polygraph“based on a false premise that …activation of the sympatheticnervous system, is evidence of guilt, rather than the stress innocentpeople feel from being placed as a suspect. …psychopaths, have abasic defect of part of the brain called the amygdala, which makesthem uniquely resistant to anxiety! And of course uniquelyconvincing liars. So the polygraph is weighted in favour of convictingthe innocent and freeing the psychopath. The polygraph should bebanned.”-David Anderson, PhDResults Cannot DETECT lying, only infer it
FingerprintingMany ‘experts’ match basedon experience and ‘feel’The number of ‘points’necessary vary from state tostate Some require only 6, and others require more 15 points used to be considered a solid match2004 Bombing lead to a wrongarrest due to a 15 point matchto Muslim Lawyer inWashington state-He was innocent!
Arson ForensicsFaulty, out dated arson theories used to convict Willingham for thearson deaths of his three daughters who perished in a house fire He was put to death Fire has since been ruled accidentalFlashover evidence made certain ID impossible‘Crazed glass’ was once believed to only indicate accelerant, nowdebunkedBurn pattern evidence and also charring of wood under aluminumevidence now found unreliableNew guidelines released two months later that brought a new era offire science by 30 experts and better scientific data collected toverify
Surely DNA is GOLD STANDARD, Right?Wrong. The ‘foolproof’ forensic standard has also been under fire recentlyHow DNA evidence could befaulty: Contamination, accidental or purposeful Faulty storage or collection Error in chain of command hand off policiesBut the most disturbingproblem with DNA evidence is:
It can be fabricated!Samples can be fabricated by simply knowing the person’s DNAprofile No actual tissue neededIt is so simple that even, “Any undergraduate could perform this.”Nucleix from Tel Aviv has developed a test to distinguish real DNAsamples from fake ones
Then What IS the Future of Forensic Science? Single forensic method should never determine the outcome of a trial The more different types of evidence, the greater the chance of a fair trial A TRUE governing body should be established with real licensing Penalties for misrepresenting forensic credentials Expose each discipline to rigorous testing establish baseline standards that are consistent from one municipality to the next
ConclusionForensics have their place andshould not be abandoned in theprosecution of criminals Greater controls must be establishedScientific method must be appliedto Forensic techniques for thesake of Justice There may be other reasons for the “evidence”Its only ‘Justice’ if it is CORRECT!