Mother Jones on the fallibility of forensic science, and efforts by AG Sessions to halt reform | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mother Jones on the fallibility of forensic science, and efforts by AG Sessions to halt reform

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 2:04 PM

click to enlarge Ledell Lee leaves a hearing in LR in which he requested that forensic evidence in his case be re-examined.
  • Ledell Lee leaves a hearing in LR in which he requested that forensic evidence in his case be re-examined.
Given that we've been trying to execute eight men in recent weeks, with several of their cases hinging on forensic evidence collected after the crime, you might want to read this story from Mother Jones on the fallibility of forensic science, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to disband a panel of lawyers, scientists, judges, crime lab technicians, law enforcement officers, and academics who meet quarterly in D.C. with the goal of putting more scientific rigor into evidence analysis and courtroom testimony, which is often used to incriminate and convict defendants.

From the article:

Analyses regularly presented in courtrooms—using such evidence as bite marks, hair, and bullets—that for decades have been employed by prosecutors to convict and even execute defendants are actually incapable of definitively linking an individual to a crime. Other methods, including fingerprint analysis, are less rigorous and more subjective than experts—and popular culture—let on. But on the witness stand, experts routinely overstate the certainty of their forensic methods. In 2015, the FBI completed a review of 268 trial transcripts in which the bureau's experts used microscopic hair analysis to incriminate a defendant. The results showed that bureau experts submitted scientifically invalid testimony at least 95 percent of the time. Among those cases with faulty evidence, 33 defendants received the death penalty and 9 had been executed.

It should be noted that in the case of Ledell Lee, executed last Thursday for the 1993 murder of Jacksonville resident Debra Reese, the only forensic evidence introduced at court to tie him to the crime was a single speck of blood on his shoe — which could only be determined to be of human origin, but not the source — and African-American hair found at the scene, which investigators testified was microscopically similar to Lee's hair.  Prior to his execution, Lee's request to use modern DNA techniques to reexamine the hair was denied.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by David Koon

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation