DNA is no magic bullet of truth when the testers are aligned unambiguously with the prosecution. During the testimony in which it was revealed that Nifong and Meehan had agreed to hide the DNA evidence, Meehan referred to Nifong as "my client." Instead of serving the truth, Meehan's forensics lab was helping its "client," the prosecutor.The basic problem here is that forensic labs are hired almost exclusively by the prosecution, while the defense has little access to the materials necessary to conduct their own forensic tests. He who pays the piper calls the tune, as they say, so biased forensic results and testimony should come as no surprise.
When forensic scientists work exclusively for the prosecution, we should expect errors and abuse. Using post-conviction DNA evidence, the Innocence Project has helped exonerate nearly 200 people wrongly convicted of crimes. A study of the first 86 such cases, published in the journal Science, found faulty forensics played a role in almost two-thirds of those convictions.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Posted by Glen Whitman at 2:53 PM
Friend and co-author Roger Koppl has an excellent op-ed in the New York Post, using the Duke rape case as a jumping point to discuss the larger problem of biased forensics. Here's a sampler, but read the whole thing:
Labels: criminal justice