There is no question that certain pieces of evidence can convince the most objective juries. Handwriting analyses, ballistics reports or DNA samples sound like science to many laypeople, and a prosecuting attorney or expert witness may go out of his or her way to convince the jurors that such evidence is irrefutable.
You may be facing criminal charges that resulted from forensic evidence police and investigators obtained at the scene of a crime. In the face of that evidence, prosecutors may have warned you that your case is all but closed. Nevertheless, some evidence is not as factual as it seems.
Hands down, fingerprints are the most convincing evidence
Fortunately for many people like you who are charged with crimes, some advocates are working to see that juries understand the limitations and shortcomings of many of the pieces of forensic evidence a prosecutor may present to them in court. There is hope that new research concerning the way in which crime labs analyze forensic evidence and prosecutors present it to jurors will have some effect on the justice system. In fact, already many are questioning the scientific validity of many evidentiary staples, such as:
- Fingerprint comparison
- Bite mark comparison
- Ballistic reports
- Tool mark evaluation
While you may believe that fingerprints are the standard of evidence, humans are the ones comparing your fingerprints to those police found at a crime scene. Studies show that one out of every 18 fingerprint comparisons contains errors. While one experiment showed that fingerprint evidence presented to a jury was often enough to bring a conviction, a follow-up study showed that jurors are also open to the possibility that fingerprint examiners are capable of making mistakes.
Problems in the labs
Perhaps the most scathing information regarding evidence prosecutors present to juries is the fact that forensic labs are not necessarily reliable places of scientific analysis. In recent years, courtrooms in California and across the country have seen thousands of cases successfully appealed due to problems in crime labs, such as:
- Contamination of evidence
- Poor quality standards
- Falsified test results
- Unauthorized testing methods
With such scandals in so many forensics labs and the lack of reliability of forensic evidence in general, there is cause for concern for you and others facing criminal charges and a reason to obtain a strong criminal defense. It is the prosecutor's job to convince jurors the forensic evidence against you is foolproof, but research proves that your peers are savvy enough to recognize that such evidence may be flawed.