Thanks to TV shows like CSI and NCIS, you may be familiar with some forensic techniques law enforcement uses to indicate guilt. But did you know many of these popular forensic “science” techniques are not based on scientific research or data?
These techniques, or “junk science,” are often presented as irrefutable facts in the courtroom. Junk science techniques, including hair and blood-spatter analysis, can be damning evidence if accepted as conclusive by judges and juries. Unfortunately, while these techniques are unsupported by objective criteria and scientific research, they have been utilized by prosecutors across the country to convict innocent people of terrible crimes.
Misleading forensic science is a factor in nearly 50% of DNA exoneration cases. Suppose you were wrongfully convicted due to junk science introduced in the courtroom. In that case, you can seek post-appeal relief with the help of an experienced wrongful conviction attorney.
Some Forensic Science Techniques Are Far From Scientific
Despite a lack of scientific research supporting its conclusions, years of precedent-setting in our criminal justice system have led to countless wrongful convictions because of junk science. Some forensic techniques, while compelling, should be called into question if any of the following are true:
- There is a lack of scientific evidence or research supporting the technique.
- The technique is presented as irrefutable despite significant error rates.
- The analysis is based on subjective, unscientific criteria.
- The technique represents an oversimplification of complex science.
- Law enforcement is trained to become so-called “experts” in the technique in a matter of days (accurate, scientifically grounded forensic science is likely to require years of training)
Examples of Junk Science Abound In Courts Across America
Faulty science masquerades as evidence in many criminal cases. Depending on their application, the following techniques may be considered misleading or “junk” science in the courtroom:
- Blood-spatter analysis
- Microscopic hair examination
- Fiber analysis
- Arson analysis techniques, including “alligatoring” of wood and flame temperature analysis
- Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis (CBLA)
- Impression and pattern evidence, including footwear, tire tread, and handwriting analysis
- 911 call analysis
The wrongfully convicted know how damaging forensic evidence can look in court. If junk science techniques were a factor in your wrongful conviction, an expert wrongful conviction attorney can conduct a comprehensive analysis of the evidence used against you to help you reclaim your freedom.