The “Alternative Facts” Issues With Our Criminal Justice System
Ten years ago, the National Academy of Sciences sounded the alarm on the shortcomings of forensic science techniques and how they have led to the wrongful conviction of a number of defendants in our criminal justice system. Since then, a number of follow-up studies have been done, revealing a consistent pattern of crime lab scandals all over the country.
There is no question that many of the forensic techniques relied upon in courtrooms around the country are nothing short of unreliable and subjective. And perhaps an even bigger issue is that our criminal justice system is not set up to properly review and account for these mistakes, even when they are out there in the open. Courts make their own rules and rarely correct themselves.
The Real World Impacts of Unreliable, Overused Techniques
Let’s take a look at the real world impacts of these kinds of mistakes. They include the following stories, as examples:
- One man who was convicted due to blood-splatter testimony provided by a detective with 40 hours of training on the topic. The detective himself has, since then, has admitted that the testimony was incorrect, and the state Forensic Science Commission has already determined that the conviction was and is not scientifically supported. Still, a judge denied his request for a new trial.
- Years ago, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy repeated a “forensic” claim that originated from pop culture concerning the recidivism rate for sex offenders being as high as 80 percent. Since then, this statistic has been quoted in many courts around the country while upholding post-incarceration punishment for sex offenders. There is no factual basis at all for the statistic and, in fact, actual research has shown that people convicted of sex crimes reoffend at the lowest rate of all classes of criminals. However, to date, the mistake has not been corrected.
These are simply two of out many similar mistakes of facts courts have made over the years in a system that never seems to correct facts, even when prosecutors are disciplined by bar associations and law enforcement for regular violations of individuals’ constitutional rights. And perhaps most frighteningly, in spite of insurmountable evidence that eyewitness testimony is beyond flawed and often manipulated by law enforcement, it is still the leading cause of wrongful convictions. This has left a number of individuals on death row, even after experts responsible for these convictions have been “discredited” by courts.
Contact Our West Palm Beach, Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys to Find Out More
If you have been accused of or charged with a crime, it is of imperative importance that you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can debunk any bogus forensic science that law enforcement and prosecutions attempt to use against you, and who has a strong connection to their own credible experts to disprove these experts. Contact our Florida criminal defense attorneys at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. today to find out more.