Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pune; India: Porsche crash case: (Alleged blood-switching(:case): Tampering with evidence: The hospital at the core of this scandal has vowed to make major reforms with a focus on, meticulous planning, including how to document patient records, collect blood samples, and maintain detailed records in the forensic department."…e forensic department. There is also a consideration to redesign the emergency department. For this, the hospital will consult the Public Works Department. To monitor every movement in this department, the number of CCTV cameras will be increased. During the Kalyani Nagar accident, blood samples were taken in areas without cameras, highlighting the need for more robust transparency measures. Dr. Ajay Taware, forensic sciences department head, and Dr. Shrihari Halnor, casualty medical officer at Sassoon General Hospital, were apprehended by Pune Police Crime Branch for allegedly destroying evidence related to the Porsche accident."


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:Since I began  publishing this Blog there have been dozens, if not hundreds of posts involving tampering with physical evidence by individuals - and most often, by police, crime lab personnel and other public servants. So many, in fact, that I have concluded that tampering of physical evidence  occurs much more often than I imagined. So much more inn fact that I have decided to pay considerably more attention to them in this Blog, as with today's post containing serious allegations of tampering made agains aa ex-senior  Deputy Inspector, then commanding officer. Indeed, one of the most serious set of allegations over the years, if not the most serious I have come upon relates to disgraced  former Doctor Charles Smith, the namesake of this Blog, who admitted that he had secretly kept in his possession, out of the hands of the police officer attending the autopsy - what appeared to be  a black, curly,  male-type pubic hair that  he had secretly pocketed during the  autopsy he was conducting - which  interfered  with the police investigation into the death of a baby (no forensic examination of the hair),  and played a role in the wrongful conviction of her mother. (The Brenda Waudby case);    WIKIPEDIA ENTRY: "Tampering with evidence, or evidence tampering, is an act in which a person alters, conceals, falsifies, or destroys evidence w ith the intent to interfere with an investigation (usually) by a law-enforcement, governmental, or regulatory authority.[1] It is a criminal offense in many jurisdictions.[2] Tampering with evidence is closely related to the legal issue of spoliation of evidence, which is usually the civil law or due processversion of the same concept (but may itself be a crime). Tampering with evidence is also closely related to obstruction of justice and perverting the course of justice, and these two kinds of crimes are often charged together. The goal of tampering with evidence is usually to cover up a crime or with intent to injure the accused person."

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "There have been allegations of evidence tampering in the blood samples of the minor involved in the Kalyani Nagar accident. The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) had established a three-member committee to investigate the alleged misconduct by the two doctors. The report emphasized the shortcomings in the emergency department, prompting Sassoon Hospital administration to take corrective measures. Dr. Taware was in communication with another suspect Ashpak Makandar, with more than 70 calls exchanged between them. Makandar played a significant role in the accident case. Investigating officers indicated that the manipulation of the blood sample occurred after discussions between Dr. Taware and Makandar. The investigation has also revealed that Agarwal contacted Ashpak and Amar to facilitate the payment to Dr. Taware."


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STORY: "Pune: Sassoon General Hospital to undertake major reforms," by Reporter Shivraj Sanaa, published by The Bridge Chronicle, on June 18, 2024.


SUB-HEADING: "Hospital will consult the Public Works Department to consider redesigning the emergency department. The number of CCTV cameras will be increased."


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GIST: "Pune: Sassoon Hospital is undertaking significant reforms to enhance its administration. The hospital is emphasizing on transparency and discipline at every level. The effectiveness of these reforms, however, will depend on their implementation.

The process for each patient undergoing forensic examination begins in the emergency department, which is now being prioritized for transparency improvements. Changes are being coordinated with senior professors at the hospital, and an independent report will be prepared, followed by staff training. The focus is on meticulous planning, including how to document patient records, collect blood samples, and maintain detailed records in the forensic department.

There is also a consideration to redesign the emergency department. For this, the hospital will consult the Public Works Department. To monitor every movement in this department, the number of CCTV cameras will be increased. During the Kalyani Nagar accident, blood samples were taken in areas without cameras, highlighting the need for more robust transparency measures.

Dr. Ajay Taware, forensic sciences department head, and Dr. Shrihari Halnor, casualty medical officer at Sassoon General Hospital, were apprehended by Pune Police Crime Branch for allegedly destroying evidence related to the Porsche accident.

There have been allegations of evidence tampering in the blood samples of the minor involved in the Kalyani Nagar accident. The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) had established a three-member committee to investigate the alleged misconduct by the two doctors. The report emphasized the shortcomings in the emergency department, prompting Sassoon Hospital administration to take corrective measures.

Dr. Taware was in communication with another suspect Ashpak Makandar, with more than 70 calls exchanged between them. Makandar played a significant role in the accident case. Investigating officers indicated that the manipulation of the blood sample occurred after discussions between Dr. Taware and Makandar. The investigation has also revealed that Agarwal contacted Ashpak and Amar to facilitate the payment to Dr. Taware.

Key Areas for Improvement

  • Proper documentation of patient records
  • Emphasizing the importance of accurate record-keeping in forensic cases
  • Training doctors and staff in the emergency department
  • Providing information on collecting various samples in forensic cases
  • Ensuring staff focus on transparent operations;
The entire story can be read at:

https://www.thebridgechronicle.com/news/pune-sassoon-general-hospital-to-undertake-major-reforms

SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


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FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Criminalizing Reproduction: Attacks on science, medicine and the right to choose: Author Jessica Valenti: Texas is no longer the only U.S. state to call for abortion patients to be punished as criminals…"It was just a few weeks ago that I broke the news that the Texas’ GOP platform calls for abortion patients to be punished as murderers, including with the death penalty. Now another state Republican party is going all in on anti-abortion extremism—this time in Idaho. Idaho Reports reveals that Republicans have expanded anti-abortion language in the party platform to oppose “the destruction of human embryos.” That’s right, the Idaho GOP is coming out against IVF. But it goes even further than that. The platform actually defines the destruction of embryos—a common part of the IVF process—as murder: “We oppose all actions which intentionally end an innocent human life, including abortion, the destruction of human embryos, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.”


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  "In recent years, I have taken on the  theme of criminalizing reproduction - a natural theme for a Blog concerned with  flawed science in its myriad forms  - as I am utterly opposed to the current movement in the United States (and some other countries) emboldened by the overturning of Roe Versus Wade,  towards imprisoning women and their physicians and others who help them secure a safe abortion,  on the basis of sham science (or any other basis). I can’t remember the source, but agree  totally with the sentiment that control over their reproductive lives is far too important to women in America - or anywhere else -  so they can  participate  equally in the economic and social life of their nations without fear for  loss their freedom at the hands of political opportunists and fanatics. (Far too many of those those around these days.) 


Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Also in Idaho, Boise State Public Radio spoke to a diverse group of faith leaders who are speaking out against the state’s ban. Rabbi Dan Fink says “the anti-abortion movement has chosen to give authority to a very small, a very narrow kind of conservative Christianity, and essentially made it a kind of state religion.”

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY:  "This section comes after language defining abortion as murder, and calling for “the criminalization of all murders by abortion within the state’s jurisdiction.” Now, that language has been part of the party’s anti-abortion plank for some years, but given that increasing calls for abortion patients to be punished under homicide laws, it’s worth revisiting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times again: Republicans are being very explicit about the future they want, the question is whether we’re going to listen to them."


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COMMENTARY: "Idaho GOP platform call IVF 'murder,' opines Jessica Valenti, on her substack  'Abortion, Every Day,' published on June 17, 2024. This well -researched authoritative post focusses on ''All |Things, Abortion, feminist commentary and community.  


GIST: "It was just a few weeks ago that I broke the news that the Texas’ GOP platform calls for abortion patients to be punished as murderers, including with the death penalty. Now another state Republican party is going all in on anti-abortion extremism—this time in Idaho.

Idaho Reports reveals that Republicans have expanded anti-abortion language in the party platform to oppose “the destruction of human embryos.” That’s right, the Idaho GOP is coming out against IVF. But it goes even further than that. The platform actually defines the destruction of embryos—a common part of the IVF process—as murder:

“We oppose all actions which intentionally end an innocent human life, including abortion, the destruction of human embryos, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.”

This section comes after language defining abortion as murder, and calling for “the criminalization of all murders by abortion within the state’s jurisdiction.” Now, that language has been part of the party’s anti-abortion plank for some years, but given that increasing calls for abortion patients to be punished under homicide laws, it’s worth revisiting.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times again: Republicans are being very explicit about the future they want, the question is whether we’re going to listen to them.

Also in Idaho, Boise State Public Radio spoke to a diverse group of faith leaders who are speaking out against the state’s ban. Rabbi Dan Fink says “the anti-abortion movement has chosen to give authority to a very small, a very narrow kind of conservative Christianity, and essentially made it a kind of state religion.”

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzQVxHZXvVKdpdNzMZZJdkLxMCJJ

SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


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FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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'Junk science’: Insightful commentary by Profs. Gary Edmond and David Hamer published by 'The Conversation', shows how 'junk science' is being used in Australian courtrooms, and why wrongful convictions are at stake…"The conviction of Robert Farquharson for the murder of his three sons on Father’s Day 2005 is being questioned in the media, with doubts raised about the reliability of prosecution’s medical, traffic reconstruction and sinking vehicle evidence. This case has echoes of Henry Keogh, David Eastman and Lindy Chamberlain. Their murder convictions were overturned when scientific and medical testimony from their trials was eventually found to be unreliable. The handling of expert opinion evidence by Australian courts is in a crisis. Curiously, our courts appear oblivious. They use forensic science evidence without regard for the best scientific advice."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Evidence-based reform is urgently needed. We should impose an explicit reliability standard on all expert opinion evidence. Courts need to understand the limitations of forensic science and medicine evidence. Their proud legal traditions should not insulate them from the chorus of advice from peak scientific bodies. The federal government should create an independent multidisciplinary panel to provide scientific assistance on controversial subjects such as CCTV and voice identification, or whether there are reliable means of identifying abusive infant head trauma. Finally, Australian governments should also establish an independent Criminal Cases Review Commission to uncover and refer potential wrongful convictions back for further appealSuch a body, operating outside the traditional adversarial system, may help persuade complacent criminal courts that seemingly damning “expert” evidence should not always be taken at face value."

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COMMENTARY: "'Junk science' is being used in Australian courtrooms, and wrongful convictions are at stake," by Professor Gary Edmond, Professor of Law, UNSW Sydney and Professor of Evidence Law  David Hamer, University of Sydney, published one June 5, 2024.  The Conversation is a newsletter devoted to providing expert analysis and opinion bearing the well deserved motto, 'Academic Rigour, Journalistic Flair.'

GIST:  "The conviction of Robert Farquharson for the murder of his three sons on Father’s Day 2005 is being questioned in the media, with doubts raised about the reliability of prosecution’s medical, traffic reconstruction and sinking vehicle evidence.


This case has echoes of Henry Keogh, David Eastman and Lindy Chamberlain. Their murder convictions were overturned when scientific and medical testimony from their trials was eventually found to be unreliable.

The handling of expert opinion evidence by Australian courts is in a crisis. Curiously, our courts appear oblivious. They use forensic science evidence without regard for the best scientific advice.

Australian courts ignore criteria recommended by peak scientific organisations such as the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). The chief executive of the AAS, Anna-Maria Arabia, has warned that our courts are susceptible to “junk science”. Why is this happening and what can we do?

A lack of formal validation

Unlike most witnesses who can only testify as to facts, experts are allowed to express opinions based on “specialised knowledge” that would otherwise be unavailable to the court. Prosecutions frequently rely on expert evidence such as DNA profiles, fingerprint comparisons and post-mortem reports.

Problematically, courts fail to insist on formal validation of the experts’ methods before their opinions are admitted. In 2009 the US National Academy of Sciences concluded that, apart from DNA, no forensic method has been rigorously shown to […] consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.

The academy expressed concerns about the accuracy of expert comparisons of fingerprints, ballistics, hairs, handwriting, bite marks, explosives, paints and blood stains.

Scientists have been working hard to enhance forensic sciences in the aftermath of the report. While there have been validation studies and practical improvements in some areas, subsequent independent reports have typically remained critical in their evaluations.

For example, fingerprint examiners were shown to be accurate but not infallible, as was claimed historically. Their error rate is roughly 1 in 400.

Other comparison procedures fared less well. For example, despite formal qualifications in dentistry and forensic experience, forensic dentists can’t reliably link a bite mark on human skin with specific teeth. Indeed, they can’t even determine whether marks on skin are bite marks.

Bad science in the courtroom

Australian courts don’t have rules, procedures and personnel that can effectively regulate the admission of these types of evidence.

Forensic scientists can implicate defendants without reference to validation studies and without appropriate caveats. Courts are often shielded from error rates and scientific criticism. Little account is taken of the risk evidence is biased by examiners’ exposure to information implicating the suspect, and examiners’ close relations with prosecutors.

Australian courts have also ignored recent scientific reports and academic demands that we need to tighten the rules for what evidence is admitted in court.

Rules require expert opinion to be substantially based on “specialised knowledge”, but this doesn’t involve the reliability of that knowledge.

Australian courts tend to rely on proxies for specialised knowledge. These can be general qualifications, job titles, experience, previous appearances in court and the plausibility of the expert’s interpretation.

No one in court – neither prosecutors, expert witnesses, nor trial and appellate judges – addresses the all-important questions: can the expert do it? How well? And how do we know? As a consequence, “junk science” is routinely admitted, leading to incurable unfairness and even wrongful convictions.

Defence counsel are also at fault. Australia’s leading advocates are rarely effective in cross-examining forensic scientists about the validity and accuracy of their opinions.

American legal scholar John Henry Wigmore said cross examination is “the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth”. But it consistently fails, as have other adversarial mechanisms, such as opposing witnesses and judicial directions.

Expert evidence of dubious reliability is regularly admitted and left to the jury to somehow evaluate.

Ignorance isn’t an excuse

Perhaps the criminal justice system’s scientific ignorance shouldn’t be surprising. This ignorance is the very reason we need expert evidence.

But lawyers and judges can become complacent toward their critical abilities and the effectiveness of traditional legal rules, procedures and safeguards. (This complacency contributed to the failure of the 2019 inquiry to correct Kathleen Folbigg’s wrongful conviction.)

The very reason for holding a trial is that we don’t know if the defendant is guilty. But this unknown and the finality of a jury verdict means we don’t tend to get meaningful feedback on the system’s effectiveness (or lack thereof).

Evidence-based reform is urgently needed. We should impose an explicit reliability standard on all expert opinion evidence. Courts need to understand the limitations of forensic science and medicine evidence. Their proud legal traditions should not insulate them from the chorus of advice from peak scientific bodies.

The federal government should create an independent multidisciplinary panel to provide scientific assistance on controversial subjects such as CCTV and voice identification, or whether there are reliable means of identifying abusive infant head trauma.

Finally, Australian governments should also establish an independent Criminal Cases Review Commission to uncover and refer potential wrongful convictions back for further appeal.

Such a body, operating outside the traditional adversarial system, may help persuade complacent criminal courts that seemingly damning “expert” evidence should not always be taken at face value.

The entire commentary can be read at:

https://theconversation.com/junk-science-is-being-used-in-australian-courtrooms-and-wrongful-convictions-are-at-stake-231480

SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


—————————————————————————————————

FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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YET ANOTHER FINAL WORD:


David Hammond, one of Broadwater's attorneys who sought his exoneration, told the Syracuse Post-Standard, "Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it's the perfect recipe for a wrongful conviction.


https://deadline.com/2021/11/alice-sebold-lucky-rape-conviction-overturned-anthony-broadwater-12348801


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