Pseudoscience in the Witness Box: The FBI faked an entire field of forensic science.

Dave70968

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I think of our Court System as functioning similar to the method used to determine Jusice in Thunderdome: The Wheel of Justice. “Bust a Deal and Face the Wheel”. The possible outcomes ranged from nothing to cruel and ridiculous; it’s a crapshoot. The best advice is to avoid it.
Trouble is, sometimes it comes to you, through no fault of your own. See, e.g. Kathryn Johnston: she did no wrong, but an informant pointed to her to help himself cut a deal. The police killed her in cold blood, then planted a throw-down bag to cover their tracks. Fortunately, the jailhouse snitch was more honest than our brave boys in blue and called the FBI to tell the other side of the story.
Full disclosure: I haven't fully read the O/P, but didn't this come to light years ago? Seems that I recall this being an issue in the Joyce Gilchrist fiasco. Maybe not but from what I've read in the distant past I was under the impression that microscopic hair analysis is nothing more than the examiner's opinion of a comparison. IOW, hardly scientific.
Gilchrest was at the state level; the FBI "inventing" an analysis technique is a national-level conspiracy (and I don't use that word lightly--it was an organized effort to perpetrate a falsehood as legitimate science).

But hey, we should trust our law enforcement. Fact is, even the good ones, the ones pure of heart, can be suckered by bad actors.
 

Dave70968

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Yet with her lying under oath on the stand, putting many people in prison, she still walks among us with no charges for perjury, or falsifying evidence.
Part of the Oklahoma elite that cannot be tried for crimes.
If she's walking with you, you have a zombie problem; she died in 2015, and one hopes she spends eternity paying for her crimes. Also, it was the FBI that did the big work in discrediting her; score one in favor of Famous-But-Incompetent.

Even worse, Bob Macy died a natural death, too.
 

dennishoddy

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If she's walking with you, you have a zombie problem; she died in 2015, and one hopes she spends eternity paying for her crimes. Also, it was the FBI that did the big work in discrediting her; score one in favor of Famous-But-Incompetent.

Even worse, Bob Macy died a natural death, too.
She was never charged or convicted was my point. I hope she walks in hell now, but she should have died in jail.
 

Shadowrider

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Gilchrest was at the state level; the FBI "inventing" an analysis technique is a national-level conspiracy (and I don't use that word lightly--it was an organized effort to perpetrate a falsehood as legitimate science).

But hey, we should trust our law enforcement. Fact is, even the good ones, the ones pure of heart, can be suckered by bad actors.
Yea I knew she was state level, I should have been more clear. It may not have even been the Gilchrist deal but I still think it might have been, but anyway the point I was making was that I read quite a few years ago that microscopic hair analysis is basically a crock. There's really no science involved as I recall. Maybe some statistical feature comparison, but no real chemical or biological testing to it. What boils down to is they were actually presenting circumstantial evidence "cloaked" as physical evidence.

The article you posted makes mention that there's a manufactured or faked field of forensic science. Seems that there may some hyperbole going on with the article as it was years ago I was reading about it. Slate is good at that.



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GlockPride

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I've always wondered with a little pressure or influence how 'easy' it would be to fake evidence. You get taken in or suspected of a crime. Hey, warrant here says we get DNA and hair samples. Takes hair sample, places it under microscope and takes a picture. Takes same hair, moves to another slide, takes picture of 'hair' supposedly found at crime scene. Case made. Voila! You're guilty in a court of law.
Same way with DNA. I've been very suspicious and critical over the past few years. The "data results" are only as truthful as the test operators. And they can be under tremendous pressure from bosses and prosecutors who are judged on getting the highest conviction rates possible so that they can keep their jobs.
Sad state of the legal system. I'm not saying it goes on everywhere or that no guilty people should ever get convicted, just saying there has got to be a percentage between 1 and some number that evidence gets 'manufactured'. I truly believe that if the 'man' or the .gov wants you, they'll get you.
 

yukonjack

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I've always wondered with a little pressure or influence how 'easy' it would be to fake evidence. You get taken in or suspected of a crime. Hey, warrant here says we get DNA and hair samples. Takes hair sample, places it under microscope and takes a picture. Takes same hair, moves to another slide, takes picture of 'hair' supposedly found at crime scene. Case made. Voila! You're guilty in a court of law.
Same way with DNA. I've been very suspicious and critical over the past few years. The "data results" are only as truthful as the test operators. And they can be under tremendous pressure from bosses and prosecutors who are judged on getting the highest conviction rates possible so that they can keep their jobs.
Sad state of the legal system. I'm not saying it goes on everywhere or that no guilty people should ever get convicted, just saying there has got to be a percentage between 1 and some number that evidence gets 'manufactured'. I truly believe that if the 'man' or the .gov wants you, they'll get you.

In cases involving physical evidence the laboratory is supposed to preserve the test sample so that the defense has an equal opportunity to have their own test run. That is what is supposed to keep the system in check.
 

emapples

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I've always wondered with a little pressure or influence how 'easy' it would be to fake evidence. You get taken in or suspected of a crime. Hey, warrant here says we get DNA and hair samples. Takes hair sample, places it under microscope and takes a picture. Takes same hair, moves to another slide, takes picture of 'hair' supposedly found at crime scene. Case made. Voila! You're guilty in a court of law.
Same way with DNA. I've been very suspicious and critical over the past few years. The "data results" are only as truthful as the test operators. And they can be under tremendous pressure from bosses and prosecutors who are judged on getting the highest conviction rates possible so that they can keep their jobs.
Sad state of the legal system. I'm not saying it goes on everywhere or that no guilty people should ever get convicted, just saying there has got to be a percentage between 1 and some number that evidence gets 'manufactured'. I truly believe that if the 'man' or the .gov wants you, they'll get you.

This is exactly why I never send my DNA off to those 23andme dna websites, they are always advertising a DNA sequencing to show you where you came from ......blah , blah, blah. I will never provide them with my DNA ever.
A DNA conviction is based on paper ......your DNA matches what this piece of paper (chained of custody)says it matches. Our government can convict whoever they want if they so choose. DNA is a great tool but it’s also become the magic bullet.......it’s all they need to convict lol
 

Dave70968

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Yea I knew she was state level, I should have been more clear. It may not have even been the Gilchrist deal but I still think it might have been, but anyway the point I was making was that I read quite a few years ago that microscopic hair analysis is basically a crock. There's really no science involved as I recall. Maybe some statistical feature comparison, but no real chemical or biological testing to it. What boils down to is they were actually presenting circumstantial evidence "cloaked" as physical evidence.

The article you posted makes mention that there's a manufactured or faked field of forensic science. Seems that there may some hyperbole going on with the article as it was years ago I was reading about it.

See also my notes on Drs. West and Hayne. Bad--outright fraudulent--science is alive and well, which is more than we can say of some of the victims.
 
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