Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fallible Forensics?

We, the general public, have come to rely on forensic evidence in criminal trials, but has our reliance been misplaced? Do we accept faulty analysis by "experts" simply because we presume they are never wrong or never lie? "Experts" can be wrong or at least have differing opinions. Some are incompetent and should not be recognized by a court of law. And indeed, some "experts" do lie.

(Note: Free registration may be required for access to the Chicago Tribune articles.)

In its continuing series Forensics Under the Microscope, the Chicago Tribune raises many reasonable questions and some reasonable doubts about how much emphasis we should place on forensic evidence, particularly when "experts" contradict each other on its interpretation and importance.

Today's Chicago Tribune article headlined Report: Inmate wrongly executed - Arson experts say evidence in Texas case scientifically invalid by Tribune staff reporter Maurice Possley keeps the issue of fallible forensics in the public view.


Blogger stebbijo said...

Amazing. Oh God, don't get me going. Expert witness' are paid to lie!

Humans are not perfect for sure and make mistakes, sometimes HUGE ones like with DNA and fingerprints. (scary) Then we can look at lie detector tests as well as not credible. After all here locally, Groene passed his, but experts wanted him to take another one. I always ask myself if the possiblity exists that someone could have botched something, fabricated, or just deliberatly set someone up. I would probably hang every jury up.

9:03 AM, May 04, 2006  

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