Protecting Your Future Begins with Securing The Strongest Defense Against Criminal Charges
Protecting Your Future Begins with Securing The Strongest Defense Against Criminal Charges
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Criminal evidence may be unreliable

Not all people behind bars are guilty of committing a crime. According to the Innocence Project, the U.S. justice system released 364 people from their prison sentences after further testing proved their innocence. How are innocent people convicted of a crime they did not commit?

Improper testing of evidence used in criminal cases is just one issue leading to wrongful convictions, contributing to 24% of all erroneous convictions across the nation. Approximately 52% of the 364 exonerated cases involved the misapplication of forensic testing.

What is forensic testing?

Once detectives collect evidence at a crime scene, it undergoes various forensic tests in an attempt to help the investigation or develop ties between the suspect and the crime. According to the United States Department of Justice, forensic testing involves fingerprint examination, trace evidence examination, molecular biology, fire and explosives examinations, handwriting analysis and forensic toxicology.

Is forensic testing reliable?

Some tests previously used to convict people of a crime have since been found to be unreliable. For example, hair follicle analysis, shoe print analysis, tire mark comparisons and comparative bullet lead analysis can yield inaccurate results. Yet, when presented in court, a jury or judge may take it as reliable evidence and use it as a factor that helps determine whether a person is guilty or innocent.

Other problems involve the presentation of forensic evidence to the court. Forensic analysts may display their findings in a way that misleads the judge or jury. In some cases, analysts present skewed test results because of a mistake made during the testing process and these inaccurate results get passed along during the trial.

Criminal evidence holds significant weight in a case that includes whether an innocent person goes free or is convicted of a crime they did not commit. It is essential that laboratory professionals run the correct tests and run them properly to receive accurate and reliable results.

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