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Forensic Problems in the Criminal Courts

 

Forensic problems caused Michael Morton to be wrongfully convicted.

There is a big difference between civil courts and criminal courts. The obvious fact is one deals with money and the other, the loss of liberty: jail or prison. The rules of evidence that govern both systems are essentially the same. . . or so one would think. The reality is that criminal courts have come under large scrutiny for not following the rules of evidence when it comes to the forensic problem of bogus science. The National Academy of Science and The National Institute of Justice were both contracted to perform a comprehensive study on the state of modern forensic science methods allowed in court. They issued a scathing report: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/228091.pdf
 
https://youtu.be/sqhYw51EzA0 — The Difference between Criminal and Civil courts
 
Law enforcement has crossed many lines in their efforts at obtaining convictions. This is the problem. Their use of “scientific methods” to convict people such as bite mark analysis and arson investigations, like the one used in convicting Michael Morton to over 30 years of prison, are under fire by the nation’s scientific community. So how has this happened? The simple answer is that the criminal judges in this country have forsaken the gate keeping role established by rule of law. The civil courts have done an excellent job of keeping out fake science. Civil turned criminal defense attorney Mike Mosher articulates his shock at how the criminal courts do not follow established law when it comes to allowing in questionable police tactics to convict.

Daubert Factors

The established law in the United States for admitting forensic evidence is the Daubert standard. The Court in Daubert defined “scientific method” as the process of formulating hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or falsify a hypothesis. It sets out five factors in determining the legitimacy of a “scientific” method before the jury can consider it:

1. Whether the theory or technique employed by the expert is generally accepted in the scientific community;
2. Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication;
3. Whether it can be and/or has been tested;
4. Whether the known or potential rate of error is acceptable; and
5. Whether the research is independent of the particular litigation or dependent on an intention to provide the proposed testimony.

We need to do more to solve these forensic problems

The purpose of the justice system is to arrive at truth. Truth is impossible when using fake methods to convict a person. As the commentator, Mike Mosher, refers to in ​the above video, it is alarming that our criminal courts across America have fallen prey to allowing the overzealous whims of law enforcement to dictate evidence, even when such evidence is fake.
 
I met Mike at the nation’s largest DWI seminar put on by the NACDL and the NCDD in Las Vegas. He has spent a successful career suing pharmaceutical companies in civil courts over false claims to save lives. The low admissibility standard in criminal courts shocked him. Many criminal defense lawyers, such as myself, are used to the low standard used in admitting ineligible evidence. The problem is that criminal appellate courts let these forensic problems slide. There are innocence clinics popping up in law schools all across America trying to combat these forensic problems. We must be aware of these atrocities committed in our courts in the name of “tough on crime” and do better to prevent further injustices.

More about Mimi Coffey

When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.

The Coffey Firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Unlawful Carrying Weapon (UCW), Assault (including family violence), Theft and Possession charges.

Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant CountyDWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.