Thursday, September 15, 2016

'Junk bitemark science': Another neat post from Blogger Mike Bowers. (CSIDDS: Forensics in Focus): Its deluded proponents are not going away: They're having breakfast!

POST: "Regardless of #PCAST,  (President's Council on Science  and Technology) bitemark matchers praise themselves and re-up their “Bitemark Breakfast," by Blogger Mike Bowers, published on his Blog CSIDDS (Forensics in Focus) on September 12, 2016.

GIST:  "To be expected, although in an ironic twist to the above image, the AAFS affiliated bite mark bunch continues to press on with their agenda. This is in the face of a tsunami of criticism from media reports of wrongful convictions, courts themselves, forensic and legal experts, forensic commissions and governmental reviewers such as the National Academy of Sciences (See: “Strengthening Forensic Sciences in the United States….” (ppg 173-176), the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Texas Forensic Science Commission (See: “Arguments over bite marks get testy…….”). They are continuing their long tradition of promoting bite mark advocates with awards at the next annual AAFS convention. In 2017 its coming to New Orleans. A very recent missive from the AAFS News alert always provides announcements of the org’s various multi-disciplinary forensic sections. The Odontology Section in this issue is glowing with praise for a couple of senior AAFS/ABFO forensic dentists who have lived on and through from the glory days of bite marks as a “novel” and compelling impression-matching discipline. That’s just about 41 years since the 1975 MARX decision in California helped to raise them to admissibility acceptance around the United States. What’s still current in all state’s law books are other bite mark cases which helped convict defendants and convinced other jurisdictions to follow their lead. The “Domino effect” for courtroom acceptance. Here is a strong sign of legal prevarication and systemic inertia. Some of these convictions were dismissed and the defendants exonerated via post-conviction DNA testing and recent junk science legislation. No official change or update has happened. So, back to the Odontology award section. The awardees have either recently testified in courts (see the Dean case from NYC) or before forensic commissions as proponents in favor of bitemark identifications in its various subjectively “approved by the ABFO” forms. In addition, a decades long “Tom Krauss Bitemark Breakfast” has been held by the dentists. It has hosted some remarkable people generally outside the small group of dentists, but under an onslaught of narrow thinking,  now has devolved to something different. The late Dr. Krauss was the co-developer of the innovative, much used and now much copied “ABFO No.2 Scale.” CSIs love it. He was an honorable man and led more that one review group of bitemark convictions all the way back to the 1970’s. One in particular was Milone. He even was actively investigating MS bite mark guru to himself Michael West (See: “Radley Balko on the Fabricated Bite Mark Evidence of Michael West”).  As a denouement to past greatness, here is one of the breakfast’s more recent notable speakers.  Melissa Mourges is  a senior deputy District Attorney for Manhattan. She fought for bitemarks in  a particularly offensive way  less than 3 years ago, but later lost due to her own office overruling its use. Possibly the removal was called by public complaints to her boss and the NY Bar Association. See “In an angry, defensive memo, Manhattan DA’s office withdraws bite mark evidence.”

The entire post can be found at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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:  
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.