Welcome back, and thanks for joining us here at The Kronzek Firm for our discussion on junk science, which is often mistaken for real forensic science! This is an important topic for defendants facing a criminal trial in Michigan. We regularly see prosecutors and their expert witnesses trying to sell their junk science theories to juries in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Livingston and Shiawassee County.
So far we’ve been looking at the different controversial methods used by cops and prosecutors throughout Michigan including Oakland County and Macomb County to get convictions. If you’re only just joining us you might want to take a moment to get caught up. Otherwise, having wrapped up our list of junk sciences, we’d like to look at how these “tried and true” methods came under fire in recent years!
Movies and TV shows haven’t helped the issue!
Most civilians don’t really understand what’s involved in fingerprint comparison, or DNA analysis, but they know their favorite TV cop character uses these methods to put the bad guys in prison. So they must be real science, right? Shows like CSI, Bones, The FBI Files and NCIS have all normalized the idea of forensic sciences being solid and infallible in mainstream society. People no longer question the validity of forensic sciences, because on TV they seem so impartial and real.
So when did people start questioning forensic sciences?
It was a trickle at first. One conviction overturned, when the scientific methods used were proven to be groundless. And then another, and another and another. Slowly, over the course of many years, scientists, criminal defense attorneys and falsely convicted people drew more and more attention to the questionable nature of so many forensic techniques.
The major shift came in 2009, when the National Academy of Sciences released their groundbreaking 2009 report, which blew the lid off forensics forever. Suddenly methods and techniques that had been considered failsafe for years were being called into question. Things like fingerprint comparison, footwear pattern analysis, bite marks and firearm identification were suddenly no longer rock solid evidence to convict someone accused of a crime. And yet they continued to be used in courtrooms around the state of Michigan and other parts of the USA.
What is being done to improve forensic sciences and avoid ‘junk science’?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “not enough.” But not all is lost! Even The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) have noted the problem. Ther opinion? Forensic science has validity problems which need to addressed immediately. Specifically, methods used to convict people of crimes need to have foundational or applied validity. So what does that mean?
This means the forensic discipline in question is based on research whose results are “repeatable, reproducible, and accurate.”
This means that the method in question is “reliably applied in practice.” In essence, if the forensic method is to be used in court, there need to be reproducible studies on its accuracy, and it needs to be an accurate method used by examiners. Michigan’s Rules of Evidence rely on the Daubert standard combined with some elements of the old Davis-Freye test, to help judges decide whether to admit evidence at trial.
Don’t be falsely accused based on junk science!
We have a long way to go when it comes to the use of forensic evidence in court. At The Kronzek Firm, we have developed professional relationships with some of the best expert witnesses in their fields. Should we decide to have us take your case, you would have cutting edge scientists, doctors, researchers and investigators available to you. All of whom would be on call to debunk any junk science that showed up in the prosecution’s case! Because truth is important!
So if you or a loved one have been accused of a crime in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245 (1-866-7NoJail). Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you fight false allegations and garbage “science”. As we often point out, the best way to avoid being falsely convicted of a crime, is to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can.