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Some forensic evidence may be based on junk science

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

If you’re accused of a crime in Florida, the prosecuting party may claim to have forensic evidence tying you to the crime. While forensics has been used in the criminal justice system for many years, some of this evidence may not be legitimate as it’s based on junk science. Examples of junk science in forensics and law enforcement have created doubts about whether some forensic techniques should be used.

Can forensics be scientifically justified?

Anyone watching crime-based TVs or movies has seen plots where forensic science was used to build a case against a person accused of a crime. However, in the real world, some forensic science examples may be based on junk science, which doesn’t have sufficient evidence or research to support it. These forensics often have many common traits which include the following:

  • Oversimplifies a complex science
  • Relies on subjective criteria or interpretation
  • Has little or no scientific research or evidence supporting it
  • Is presented as conclusive and doesn’t mention any error rates

Two examples of forensic junk science include 911 call analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis. Examining these areas can show why some individuals are skeptical about using these techniques as evidence in criminal justice cases.

911 call analysis

The 911 call analysis technique is used to find “guilty indicators” during an emergency call, which can implicate a person in a crime case. The problem with this technique is that studies have yet to discover scientific evidence that using 911 call analysis works.

Bloodstain pattern analysis

Bloodstain pattern analysis is another forensic technique used to match a person to a crime. However, it’s never been definitively proven to be accurate scientifically. In some criminal defense cases, charges have been dropped due to the lack of scientific evidence showing that bloodstain pattern analysis is correct.

The intertwining of forensics and junk science has been a problem for decades. Hopefully, more progress can be completed to validate forensic science methods. Otherwise, more innocent people will go to jail.