Saturday, December 14, 2013

Challenging Forensic Identification Evidence At Trial: Best Practices to Win Your Criminal Trial and Obtain A Not Guilty Verdict.

Part I  The Use of Bullet Lead Analysis (“CBLA”) Evidence

The claims that forensic expert witnesses make at trial for the prosecution often cannot stand close scrutiny and competent cross-examination by defense counsel.

There is no doubt that this type of testimony is powerfully persuasive to the jury hearing it especially in the age of television shows such as CSI.  Unfortunately, this testimony is not always reliable and such testimony will often lead to a guilty verdict.

There is much evidence to support the proposition that such evidence is often under-researched and often oversold.  The truth is forensic evidence is not infallible.

One such troubling example of junk science forensic evidence was the FBI use of lead alloy evidence or comparative bullet lead analysis (“CBLA”).  For forty-five years FBI forensic bullet alloy experts testified throughout the country claiming that they could match the lead in the bullet or fragments recovered from the defendants unused box of bullets found in his possession.  On September 1, 2005 the FBI admitted that the science was not reliable and discontinued this testimony.  How many innocent people were convicted on such testimony no one will ever know, and I do not thing anybody cares to find out. Like the fallacious CBLA forensic evidence, what other fallacious forensic evidence is still be peddled as the magic bullet for the prosecution?

In addition to junk science forensic testimony, there is also much historical evidence that prosecution expert forensic witnesses intentionally falsified the truth. In some cases they have been caught fudging numbers, exaggerating the truth, or outright lying. 

One continuing trouble problem is the use of the so-called intent to distribute experts, who testify in simple possession cases that the defendant possessed those drugs with the intent to distribute.  What crystal balls do these so called experts have to make these outlandish statements?  Troubling, however, that some juries will accept such testimony as gospel truth and convict on that junk testimony

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Dated: December 14, 2013

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