Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Louis Taylor: Tucson Arizona. Arson "science." Innocence Project of Texas founder Jeff Blackburn sees debunking junk science in arson and other criminal convictions as "the next wave of innocence work." New York Times.

STORY "Advances in science of fire free a convict after 42 years," by reporter Fernanda Santos, published by the New York Times on April 2, 2013.

GIST: "Mr. Taylor, 58, who did not even know how to drive when he went to prison at the age of 16, is facing a bleak future in an entirely unfamiliar world. His case is among several in recent years to call into question some of the scientific principles that once guided fire investigations — including the idea that multiple and independent points of a fire’s origin were proof of arson, a decisive element of Mr. Taylor’s prosecution. Last year, a committee in Texas began a review of arson convictions after a report revealed that a man executed in 2004 for setting a blaze that killed his three children may not have been guilty. The committee concluded that evidence that the fire was intentionally set had been based on faulty science. Just last week, Texas’s highest criminal court ordered a new trial for another man convicted of starting the fire that killed his stepsons, over similar doubts. “What we’re going after, more than anything else, is a pervasive prosecuting practice, not some isolated mistake that happened in the past,” said Jeff Blackburn, founder and chief counsel to the Innocence Project of Texas, the legal advocacy organization that is helping forensic scientists and the Texas fire marshal’s office carry out the review. Debunking junk science in arson and other criminal convictions, Mr. Blackburn said, “is really the next wave of innocence work.”"

The entire story can be found at:



I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site. 

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:


Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:


Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.