Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bite mark evidence: In Part Two of his four part series, Radley Balko provides a history of bite mark evidence which he says literally started with a "witch hunt." (Must Read. HL);

POST: "It literally started with a witch hunt: A history of bite mark evidence," Part Two of a four part series,  by Radley Balko, published by the Washington Post on February 17, 2015.

GIST: "On May 4, 1692, the Rev. George Burroughs was arrested in Salem, Massachusetts on suspicion of witchcraft. The only physical evidence against Burroughs were bite marks found on some of the girls he was accused of recruiting to join him. Summarizing the research of historians on the ordeal in an article for the February 2014 newsletter of the New York State Dental Association, William James Maloney writes that at trial, “the defendant’s mouth was pried open and the prosecution compared his teeth with the teeth marks left on the bodies of several injured girls present in the courtroom.” At the urging of notorious witch hunter Cotton Mather, Burroughs was convicted, sentenced to death and hanged. Two months later, the governor of Massachusetts called for an end to the witchcraft trials. He also prohibited the use of “spectral and intangible evidence” in criminal trials. Two decades later, Burroughs was declared innocent, and the colony of Massachusetts compensated his children for their father’s wrongful execution. Nearly three hundred years later, in 1974.........

The entire post can be found at:


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