Scientific Errors Might Be Key To Your Criminal Defense
Within an hour, the most complicated criminal mystery can be solved with the brilliance of the heroic forensics team on any of the crime drama shows on television. In the real world, it’s never quite so easy. If you are facing criminal charges and the prosecution is relying heavily on forensic evidence, there are some things you need to know.
The fact of the matter is that no one really knows for sure how accurate fingerprint identifications are. Although we all think we know that such evidence is pretty solid, the majority of examiners in the fingerprint business have not actually been certified in the work.
Who knew? Across the country, standards vary, making the conclusions drawn by one expert inconsistent with those of another. Surprisingly, many courtrooms now exclude fingerprint evidence altogether.
Here’s the long and the short of it: Legitimate conclusions simply cannot be attained based on the analysis of bite marks. So says the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). As it stands, even the FBI has backed off on assertions that this type of analysis is reliable.
Although handwriting analysts enjoy a reasonably standardized training system, the science is nevertheless somewhat subjective, in addition to being fraught with other problems. For example, no error rate has ever been established in the assessment procedure. It’s up to the assessor to determine that. Also, people arguably have changes in their handwriting based on a number of factors, from the purpose of the writing sample to a person’s health, emotional state, or degree of haste. Finally, it is frequently a challenge finding a writing exemplar with which to compare a writing sample, and even if one is located, the comparisons between upper-and lower-case letters is simply not reliable.
Hollywood makes it look like hair analysis can always point to the guilty party, right? Wrong! The Guardian reports that hair samples are highly unlikely to be matched up accurately. Because so many hair characteristics are very common, making a certain match is virtually impossible. One expert familiar with the forensic analysis of hair states that microscopic analysis is all but useless, unless one simply wants to exclude someone as a suspect!
Defending Against Forensic Evidence
Your proficient criminal defense attorney has several strategies with which to challenge dubious expert testimony. Known as Daubert Motions, the expert qualifications, methodology of study, or the accuracy of the science itself may be questioned, resulting in the possibility of a judge putting less weight on such evidence, or even dismissing it all together. Planting a seed of doubt is often a successful strategy when evidence is shaky.
Your Criminal Defense
At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our experienced Miami criminal attorneys are dedicated to securing the best possible results for you. Contact our office today for a confidential consultation.