Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jeffo Gamso: "Convicting them anyway," a review of "Failed Evidence" by Professor David A. Harris; (Gamso describes "Failed Evidence" as "Another in a series of books about the too-common failures of cops and lab techs and prosecutors, on how they screw up and go after the wrong people." For the Defence: Commentary by an Ohio criminal defence lawyer; (Must Read HL);

POST: "Convicting them anyway," by Jeff Gamso," published in his outstanding hard-hitting  blog "For the Defence: Commentary by an Ohio criminal defence lawyer," on November 25, 2013. A review of "Failed evidence" by Professor David  A. Harris. (University of Pittsburgh);

GIST: "Failed Evidence is another in a series of books about the too-common failures of cops and lab techs and prosecutors, on how they screw up and go after the wrong people Others include Daniel Medwed's Prosecution Complex: America's Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent (reviewed here), Jim and Nancy Petro's False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent (reviewed here), and Brandon Garrett's Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong (which for some reason I never got around to reviewing). I said that these books are about how those folks "screw up." Although there's a nod to it here and there, none of the books is concerned with actual misconduct.  They don't talk about framing innocent people, about the rush to judgment, about hiding (or fabricating) evidence, about the forensic pathologists who don't even bother to do autopsies but claim they did and testify that they revealed whatever the prosecutors want them to say.  They aren't concerned with testilying or violations of Miranda rights or the Fourth Amendment protections against searches and seizures- or with the evisceration of those rights by the courts. They are, instead, about how with the best intentions in the world, things just go wrong.  Cops believe they can tell who's lying because they have this special spidey sense that lets them know; everyone believes that fingerprints are infallible because gosh they are; and DNA is great for convicting the guilty but close to worthless for exonerating anyone already convicted 'cause that would mean we fucked up - which we don't do."

The entire post  can be found at:


See a tribute to Jeff Gamso, who often writes of forensic matters,  on an excellent Blog published by a jury consultant firm Keene Trial Consulting. It's called "The Jury Room." I have added  this feisty, informative Blog to my links. "Top criminal defense attorneys are an intense group. They care passionately about what they do. When they blog about the work they do, the result is often emotional, passionate, and downright amazing. Jeff Gamso (a criminal defense lawyer in Toledo, Ohio) writes Gamso For the Defense blog. His writing is often beautiful as befits a former English professor. But as befits a blog about criminal defense, the content is gritty, often depressing, usually sad, and always intensely felt. I tend to imagine him writing in a darkened room after a long day of work with a strong drink next to him and fingers pounding at the keyboard in search of relief from the strain of seeking justice for his clients. For all I know, he writes laboriously and with precision (editing as he writes) in a sun-drenched room with a large mug of steaming black coffee. I’ve never met Jeff Gamso. But I read his thoughts regularly."



Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


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