Over the years, Pennsylvania residents have heard a lot of stories about wrongful convictions being overturned. It’s easy to imagine a situation where someone was railroaded by hateful people, or one where there was no concrete evidence, and the case was entirely circumstantial. But the truth is that sometimes, these convictions are the result of the misinterpreted or simply inaccurate forensic evidence. Bite marks are one great example of this.
The problem with bite mark evidence
The Innocence Project has uncovered at least 26 examples of cases where people were wrongfully convicted due to bite mark evidence. Clearly, there are serious inconsistencies with the way bite marks are interpreted. The Innocence Project even uncovered cases where different experts could not agree whether an injury was a bite mark or not. The organization has gone so far as to say bite mark evidence has been debunked.
All of this is important information for affected people to build a criminal defense strategy. Understanding the problems with older forms of evidence related to bite marks, fire accelerants and more can help a jury see that there is reasonable doubt about a suspected criminal’s guilt. Understanding the effectiveness of new technology is key, too.
Over the past three decades, there have been huge advances in the arena of DNA testing. This has made it possible to definitively link things like blood and semen samples to specific people. It’s true even for some samples that were once considered to small or degraded to test. DNA evidence can confirm guilt. But more importantly, it can exclude people from an investigation. Securing DNA testing can also be very beneficial to innocent people who are being investigated as suspects.