Wrongful Convictions

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist

We have talked about the Brewer and Brooks case on many occasions – and a new book, written all about the two cases has just been published. Written by lawyer Tucker Carrington and Journalist Radley Balko the book explores the actions of Stephen Hayne and Mike West – the prosecutor and forensic dentist involved in this, and countless other cases.  A review in more...

UK Supreme Court recommends Jury Primers

The head of the UK Supreme Court has recommended Jury primers for forensic science in a piece called "Stop needless dispute of science in the courts" published in Nature this week. We have described the use of the Jury primers before - they present a means of showing the trier of fact the scope, and limitations of a science.  This helps jurys and keeps forensic more...

Video from Texas Committee

This is the video that just been released showing the landmark committee decision to recommend banning bitemark evidence in Texas Courts. The video starts at the point that the committee begins the presentation by lead Counsel, Lynn Garcia, on the findings of the sub committee - and then you can watch the entire presentation and more...

Bite-mark decision raises tougher questions

Peter and Mary Bush, forensic scientists in the School of Dental Medicine, had much to celebrate during the past week. Their work — several studies that found the science behind bite-mark analysis unsound — helped lay the foundation for a landmark recommendation by the Texas Forensic Science Commission to ban the form of evidence from being used in the courtroom. A more...

Bitemark evidence is junk science – until research shows otherwise

Here is how the Houston Post described the findings from the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Why not listen to the NPR interview with Chris Fabricant on the impact of this finding here. There were bite marks on John Sweek's arm when police found him stabbed to death on his kitchen floor in 1987. Dallas County prosecutors charged Steven Chaney with the murder — he more...

Fabricant on TPR describes impact of Texas decision

Following the landmark decision of the Texas Forensic Science Commission to recommend a ban on the use of bitemarks, Chris Fabricant, Director of Strategic Litigation at the Innocence Project, talks to TPR on the reasons behind, and the impact of, the decision. Replaying some of Dr David Senn's earlier interview on the same show (listen here) Fabricant explains the more...

Texas decision spreads worldwide

This article from the BBC shows the impact of the Texas decision and why, while many may have hoped that it would be restricted to Texas, it will have an enduring impact on justice systems worldwide. "I personally never could believe or understand the bite mark testimony, and some of the rest of the family couldn't either,"  "We wanted to believe we had the right people. more...

Texas Commission – Not enough science to support bitemarks

"It's too subjective. There is no criteria. As a result, I'm ready to face the absence of it in court, rather than have it be used," Richard Alpert, Commission member So, after hours of testimony, hundreds of pages of anecdote and opinion, and, sadly, nowhere near enough science the Texas Forensic Commission has decided to recommend to its Board that bitemark evidence be more...

Neufeld Speaks on Forensic Science

Peter Neufeld talks to Here&Now and raises issues in relation to forensic science including bitemarks. You can listen to the programme by clicking the play button at the bottom of this post. Neufeld is the co-founder and co-director of the New York Innocence Project - one of the most active IPs in the United States and, with their strategic litigation programme, more...

Lives in balance piece reminds us what is important

While the experts continue to fight it out over what scientific basis there is for bitemarks and how far the evidence can be relied upon this piece from the New York Times reminds us that there are people at the end of these arguments. Its difficult to think of something worse than being wrongfully convicted, but the damaged lives of those at the wrong end of forensic more...