Saturday, November 17, 2012

Unconfirmed canine "hit" for accelerant is held by Michigan court to be reliable evidence. The Arson Project.

STORY: "Unconfirmed K-9 hit for accelerant is held to be reliable evidence,"  published on November 16, 2012   by The Arson Project."

GIST:  "On March 29, 2006, at about 2:30 a.m., Wlosinski and Dakota conducted a search at 16328 Weddel Street in Taylor, Michigan. During the search, Dakota showed an interest in the left-hand side of the couch in the living room of the apartment. Dakota looked at Wlosinski, but he did not sit down. As the search continued, Dakota provided a positive indication of an accelerant at a table opposite the couch. He sat down and looked at Wlosinski. When they went back to the couch, Dakota again showed interest, but he did not positively indicate. On cross-examination, Wlosinski admitted that his report on the search made no mention of Dakota having made a positive indication at the table. In fact, the report stated that Dakota made no positive indication of accelerants. On redirect and recross examination, Wlosinski explained that he simply omitted mention of the positive indication in his report and that the omission was  not intentional"........."In Michigan, canine-detection evidence, by itself, is not sufficient to support a state conviction, but the presence of corroborating evidence can provide the necessary indicia of reliability for admission of the evidence... The following corroborating evidence existed in this case: fire marshal John Hager’s testimony regarding the use of an accelerant; the absence of an electrical, mechanical, or other explanation for the fire; Petitioner’s prior threat to burn the place; and the fact that he was the last person seen leaving the apartment before the fire was detected. Furthermore, Captain Wlosinski was a certified canine handler who had received specialized training with his dog, Dakota. Following that training, Wlosinski received over a hundred hours of instruction in the detection of accelerants. Dakota was trained to detect up to fourteen types of accelerants, and he, too, was certified. In light of this training and certification and the corroborating evidence, it was not an abuse of discretion to admit testimony that Dakota had alerted to the presence of an accelerant."

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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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