Tried and true evidence may be duping juries

No matter the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may have felt your situation was dire after hearing the evidence against you. Perhaps you sat in the courtroom and listened as experts testified that the forensic evidence gathered from the scene pointed to you. They were confident in their analysis and told the jury that their conclusions were based on science.

What else could a jury do in light of such convincing evidence? Juries trust experts, and they believe in science. Unfortunately, prosecutors know this about juries, and they take advantage of a jury's reliance on scientific certainty. While you may feel that you have no way to fight the conviction the jury handed down, you may have cause to appeal for a closer look at the so-called science behind the evidence.

When science isn't scientific

More frequently, forensic science is coming into question in the courtroom. Even the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has raised suspicion about some methods used in the judicial system. Aside from outright corruption in some crime labs across the country, fallible humans did the collecting, labeling, transporting, storing, testing and interpreting of evidence from the crime for which a jury convicted you, and, at any point in the process, humans may have tainted the results.

PCAST questions some of the most basic elements of forensic science, such as:

  • DNA: If samples contain information from numerous people, scientists often make a subjective determination based on their own experiences and the suspect prosecutors have in mind.
  • Bite marks: Studies show that scientists have difficulty identifying bite impressions as human, let alone identifying them as undeniably belonging to one person accused of a crime.
  • Ballistics: Scientists may have matched bullets at the scene of the crime of which you were convicted with a weapon by matching unique patterns on the bullet. However, this method is an assumption, and no one has ever proved it scientifically.
  • Expert opinions: Many people prosecutors call to testify as experts excel at presenting a confident report of their findings without including potential test flaws or scientific uncertainties in their testimonies

Even fingerprinting, used for centuries to put a suspect at the scene of the crime, contains flaws inherent with human bias. While investigators may have used computer programs to match you with fingerprints at the scene of the crime, a fingerprint expert has the final word in interpreting the computer's findings.

If you have received a wrongful conviction based on faulty evidence, you have no time to lose in seeking help. An Arkansas attorney can look at your case with fresh eyes and guide you in determining your best options for moving forward.

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