Expert Witnesses Who Lie
Whether it is DWI expert witnesses, DNA experts, or analytical chemists, the concerns for truth in science are the same….
The American Criminal Justice System: “Houston, We have a Problem.”
Expert Witnesses Who Lie
Mark Fuhrman, convicted of felony perjury after the O.J. Simpson trial, is now a national Fox legal analyst, an “expert witness” on police matters. Last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled “Dr.” James Ferguson, a state toxicologist, convicted of perjury, could NOT be sued or found liable for lying in a murder case where his expert witness testimony was relied upon by the judge for the conviction. Fred Zain, toxicologist at the West Virginia Department of Public Safety, falsified lab results which resulted in as many as 134 wrongful convictions. Once under investigation, he merely picked up and moved to San Antonio, Texas. There he worked as a toxicologist. An investigation found at least 180 cases in which fraud may have led to wrongful convictions. He died in the comforts of his Florida home in 2002.
Picking up the pieces in Boston, Massachusetts, over 34,000 lab results are now in question after state toxicologist Annie Dookhan pled guilty to crimes related to falsifying results. These cases are just the recent ones. They are only the tip of the iceberg. When caught cheating in the Olympics, the commission strips athletes of their medal and the opportunity to compete. In American criminal courts, if an officer or expert witness lies to obtain a conviction, they receive promotions and raises. If caught in a lie, the Courts protect them. The 6th Circuit Court rationalized, “Dr. Ferguson deserves absolute immunity in the case because [we protect] all testimony, even if perjured, to ensure witnesses will be candid without fearing lawsuit.”
Limitation on the immunity
Mind you, this absolute immunity protection ONLY applies to government witnesses. It‘s the same type of logic as preventing poisoned customers from suing a chef because it stifle the chef’s creativity. How many chefs would poison patrons? An illegal and unlikely scenario as restaurants would shut down and there would be health code compliance complaints. These safeguards do not play out in the criminal justice system. Quite the opposite: convictions win elections and look great in the media while those successful earn job promotions.
As for a forensic regulatory body, NONE with any regulatory powers over the criminal justice system exist. We currently have a scandal ridden “pay as you go” certifying agency environment. As a result, groups like the American Crime Lab Directors (under major fire and litigation) issue board certifications and certificates for a fee despite not adhering to scientific peer review recommendations; e.g. blind audits, true proficiency tests.
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.
Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant County, DWI 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.