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You know that thing that was almost solved
-by a flasher dog in 1980's.
But specifically this story is about
how we increasingly solve crimes using forensic evidence.
It's that thing that is just a staple of TV crime shows.
Pull it from the torso on the left.
Pull it from the boat on the right.
Two hearts beat as one.
Matches up perfectly.
That's a match.
We've got a match.
And it just found us a match.
Visible match.
-We've a match. -Match.
Were you able to determine
which monkey bit him?
The bite marks match those of the monkey found at the scene.
That last one was presumably
from one of the crossover episodes where the team from Law & Order,
worked a case with the cast of Monkey Law and Monkey Order.
on TV and in real life forensic science plays
an important role in criminal convictions.
Prosecutors often complain about a so called C.S.I. effect,
where jurors expect to see forensic evidence in every case.
The problem is, not all forensic science
is as reliable as we've become accustomed to believe.
A report in 2009,by the National Academy of Sciences
found that many forensic scientists
do not meet the fundamental requirements of science.
And a report last year by a Presidential Science Council agreed saying that,
"expert witnesses have often overstated
the value of their evidence, going far beyond
what the relevant science can justify,"
and that's the thing here.
It's not that all forensic science is bad,
'cause it's not, but too often,
it's reliability is dangerously overstated
and one sign of that is that forensic experts in court
are often nudged to use one very convincing phrase.
To a reasonable degree of the scientific certainty...
To a reasonable degree of scientific certainty...
To a reasonable degree of the scientific certainty...
Within reasonable scientific certainty...
To a reasonable degree of scientific certainty...
Are you able to say that within a reasonable degree
-of the scientific certainty? -Yes.
And here's the thing that phrase
does have a persuasive ring to it. Unfortunately,
as that Presidential Council pointed out,
it has no generally accepted meaning in science.
It's one of those terms like, basic or trill
that has no commonly understood definition.
Am I trill?
Is that good or bad?
I mean I do feel trill, so I'm guessing it's awful.
And-- when bad science
is confidently presented, terrible convictions can happen.
In fact, among the hundreds of people
who have been exonerated by DNA testing since 1989,
in nearly half of their cases,
there was some misapplication of forensic science
and there are people behind those numbers.
Take Santae Tribble, who was convicted of murder
and served 26 years. In large part,
thanks to an FBI analyst who testified that his hair
matched hairs found at the scene.
And as he will tell you,
the evidence was presented, as being rock solid.
They said they matched my hair
in all microscopical characteristics.
And that's the way they presented it to the jury
and the jury took it for granted that, that was my hair.
But you know, I can see, why they did.
Because who other than an FBI expert
would possibly know that much about hair?
Except of course,
whoever stalled Amanda Seyfried at the 2009 Oscars.
Breath taking waves,
without loosing any of their body or bounce.
Stunning! Stunning! Stunning! Stunning! Stunning! Stunning!
The jurors in Tribble's case, were actually told
there was one chance in ten million
that it could be someone else's hair, and guess what?
He was exonerated.
Because once DNA analysis became available, his lawyer tested
the thirteen hairs from the case
and not only were none of them his,
some of what they found was incredible.
Nine of the hairs had come from the same source,
a couple had come from different sources
and one was a dog.
Two different FBI agents who had, eh,
looked at that and analyzed it, didn't recognize that it was dog hair?
It was a K9.
It was a domestic dog, yes.
My personal conclusion was,
-the dog committed the crime.
So, first, it is amazing that he is able to laugh at that,
but second, if a dog did commit the crime
there's really no recourse there because there is actually no law
against dogs committing murder
and that's a fact that learned in Air Bud 9,
Fuck the Paw-lice!
And it turns out,
Tribble is not the only case where FBI experts
overstated their confidence in their results.
The Innocence Project
and the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers
found from the 1970's through 1999,
in 268 cases where FBI hair analysis led to a conviction,
257 or 96 percent of them had errors in analysis.
Oh, it gets worse
because nine of those defendants had already been executed,
which is horrifying.
And you would expect FBI hair analysis
to have a high rate of accuracy than your friend's hair analysis
of you can totally pull off bangs,
because you can't,
you absolutely can't, believe me I couldn't,
just learn--
-learn from our mistakes kids.
Save yourselves!
It's too late for me.
And look,
it's by no means,
just microscopic hair comparison which has had
the reliability of these results overstated.
Those reports that I showed earlier suggests
there is weak scientific support
for some aspects of techniques like
a blood pattern, footwear, firearm and bite mark analysis.
And you must be familiar with that last one from
cool scenes like this:
A little 3D magic for clarity and I give you
the killer's incisors.
Oh, Yo!
The computer rated it "Yellow rectangle."
And we all know yellow rectangle is the highest level of match
a computer can give you about teeth.
Look, in the real world, bite mark analysis
is highly subjective and unreliable.
The President's Council found the entire discipline,
does not meet the scientific standards
for foundational validity.
Which I believe, is science speak for "Bullshit!"
But people have been sent to prison
on the basis of bite mark testimony by experts like,
Dr. Michael West.
The science of bite marks analysis, is very accurate.
NARRATOR 1: When it comes to bite marks,
West consider himself "The maestro."
He's found bite marks on a decomposed body
submerged in a swamp,
on a corpse that had been buried for more than a year.
He's even used a bite mark
taken out of a bologna sandwich to get a conviction.
Now, that sounds impressive matching a killer's teeth
to a bite mark in a bologna sandwich,
although, you should know that the defendant in that case,
got a new trial after an autopsy report
found that the murder victim
had actually eaten a small amount of bologna
consistent with the amounts bitten off the sandwich.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -So, that sandwich,
was irrelevant to the case.
In fact, you could even argue that it was actually Dr. West,
who was full of, say it with me,
And-- that is not the only issue
that has arisen from his testimony.
There are now five cases
where he testified for the prosecution
and where the charges were dropped
or the conviction was later over turned
and even West himself
has admitted that he no longer believes
in bite mark analysis for identifying perpetrators
and he doesn't think it should be used in court.
And yet, incredibly,
every time a defendant has challenged its validity
the court has ruled it admissible.
And a key reason for that
is that judges often rely on precedent
to decide what to allow in front of a jury. So,
if a particular discipline has been in court before
it is likely that a judge will admit it again.
All of which means that as the co-founder
of the Innocence Project points out,
decisions about the validity of science are being made
by people who don't necessarily know much about it.
Historically, we had a situation where,
two scientifically illiterate lawyers
argued the bonafides of scientific evidence
before a scientifically illiterate judge,
so the 12 scientifically illiterate jurors
could decide the weight of that evidence.
And if you think about it, that's absolutely terrifying.
Trials can often be a situation when no one
really knows what they are doing.
It's like a cooking competition for toddlers,
hosted by a stray cat and judged by goats.
The tuna was under cooked
and covered in cold spaghetti sauce.
You then for some reason
cover the whole dish in honey nut cheerios.
And look, none of this is to say,
that there is not reliable forensic science out there.
Finger prints and DNA
are obvious examples but while we think of them as perfect,
it is important to know
they are by no means infallible.
The FBI has found fingerprint analysis
could have a false positive rate
as high as one error in 306 cases.
And a dramatic example of this
came after the Madrid's train bombings in 2004
when the FBI arrested this Oregon man, Brandon Mayfield.
He had never even been to Spain in his life.
But, three separate examiners, matched his finger prints
to one on a bag of detonators. So, he was at that point,
completely fucked!
Until, investigators happen to determine that,
that fingerprint actually also matched someone else
who was in Spain at the time and that blew the minds
of finger print experts.
MARK ACREE: We always assume
that finger prints are very very unique,
but what the Mayfield case demonstrates, is that
parts of a fingerprint can be
so similar, it's possible for two people to be
identified to one print.
That's true.
It turns out that two people can have finger prints
that are so close that even experts can't tell them apart.
Meaning that we are now this close
to finally proving my theory. There is only one Olsen twin.
She's just moving very fast
-back and forth. -(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)
She confuses your eye.
Now, I don't know how this new information helps me, yet,
but when it does, the end is-- No! You frauds! You frauds!
And then-- there is DNA,
which is the gold standard in forensic science for a reason
because in perfect conditions
it's seen as the most reliable form of evidence, but
not all DNA tests are equal
and crime scenes can produce DNA of widely varying quality.
NARRATOR 2: DNA is very fragile and easily mixed up
at a messy scene.
BRAD HART: So, imagine you come across a crime scene.
You may have a pool of blood
but it may not just be one person's blood, right?
The more contributors to that-- mixture of DNA
the more difficult it is, to determine, whose DNA it was.
Whose blood it was.
Exactly, it can be difficult to tell whose blood is whose,
in a large pool of blood, which is coincidentally,
the premise of my new game show.
So, you think you can tell whose blood is whose
in a large pool of blood?
It premieres on Tuesday night and apparently,
-it's already been cancelled. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
But the problem here is,
lower quality DNA samples are sometimes presented to juries
as if they are highly reliable. In 2003,
a prosecutor in a double murder told the jury that the odds,
the defendant's DNA match the glove found at the scene
by chance, was one in 1.1 billion.
So, that's pretty strikingly impressive, but
it turned out the glove actually contained at least
three people's DNA and a later analysis
put the odds closer, to one in two.
And you know what? That's close enough isn't it?
People do confuse
the numbers 1.1 billion and two all the time.
That's why I'm always mistakenly saying
that my favorite R&B group is Boyz 1.1 Billion Men.
And on top of all of this there is one more fact
that can be impossible to detect.
And it concerns the relationship between law enforcement
and the forensic labs themselves because you would hope
that those labs would work independently taking in evidence
and spitting out results. But many labs work closely
with law enforcement knowing details
of the case that they are working on
which can prejudice their work even subconsciously.
Sometimes it's not intentional fraud
but rather, something, um, much more, uh, inadvertent.
Uh, which is the kind of bias
that can come from feeling like you're part of a side
part of a team, that you-- you're part of--
you're attached to the prosecution
and you wanna get, uh, get the bad guy.
Yeah, but that's not their job!
At all! They are supposed to be neutral.
If a referee, started participating
in a team's end zone celebration,
you'd have some serious fucking questions,
like, why have you picked a side?
And, how long you've been practicing the dirty bird?
So, clearly here a lot needs to be fixed
and some states have stepped up. One has done a lot.
Including passing a first of its kind Junk Science law.
Which enables convicts to request a new trial,
if the sides used to convict them was flawed,
and that sounds great and
the pioneering state that did that by the way,
Yes, I know!
You don't expect Texas to lead the nation
in science-related criminal justice reform.
You expect them to lead the nation
in remembering the Alamo
or naming their children "Football."
"I love you Football but if you ever forget the Alamo
-we are done." -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
Now, sadly, at the federal level
progress has been slow. Although, one group,
the National Commission on Forensic Science
has tried to fix that. They were founded
to advise the DOJ on how to address many of the problems,
that you've seen tonight.
And their most recent meeting,
featured powerful remarks from Keith Harward,
who spent 33 years in prison
for a crime that he did not commit
based on faulty bite mark evidence.
Some would say, "Well you're a free man," well...
I will never be free of this.
There's no possibility-- Excuse me if I get emotional.
I spent more than half my life in prison...
behind the opinions...
and the expert egos...
of two Odontologist.
There's a death penalty case in Pennsylvania
that's going on now
and the judge is going to allow
bite mark evidence.
How many people have to be
wrongly convicted before they realize
that this stuff's all bogus?
It's all-- made up.
That's a good question
and it's also the kind of speech
that could really inspire that commission
to do a lot of good work. Unfortunately,
that was actually their final meeting
because the commission was shut down in April
by Attorney General
and xenophobic boss baby, Jeff Sessions.
And know what?
That shouldn't really surprise you anyways.
Sessions is a former prosecutor
and he does seem like the kind of guy who watched
Dead Man Walking and was like, hurry up!
Let's kill the guy already!
This movie should be called, "Dead Man Dilly Dallying".
Let's go people, let's go!
So, we may honestly be actively going backwards on this issue,
which is dangerous,
because not only are innocent people getting convicted,
guilty criminals are being left on the streets as a result.
And if this administration does not see this as a problem
then we should at the very least,
do more to educate potential jurors
about some of the short comings in our system
and one small way to do that, might be this:
NARRATOR 3: In this city,
-when the heat rises... -(SIREN WAILING)
so does the murder rate.
Alright everybody, let's get this stuff back to the lab.
Hey chief, no need. Look what I found, bite mark.
Bologna sandwich.
Now, that's what I call...
-"Dead meat." -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
Whoa! The fuck is wrong with you?
Dead meat? This is a murder.
-That's a human person. -That is his wife over there.
-You're a fucking asshole. -(WIFE SOBBING)
NARRATOR 3: He's a crime solver,
who doesn't like to play by the rules.
I'm getting something on these bite marks here,
but it's far from conclusive.
Would you say there's a reasonable degree
of scientific certainty?
-That's meaningless. -Right.
NARRATOR 3: And that's a problem
for absolutely everyone around him.
Chief, the hair matches the victim's wife. Case closed.
Slow down.
Microscopic hair comparison is bullshit science.
I ran a mitochondrial DNA test on those hairs.
The wife did it right? Case closed.
Actually, there were five hairs.
-Three were from... a coconut. -And two were from... the wife.
One was from a Cabbage Patch Kid
and the remaining one was from--
-The wife. -This Golden Retriever.
There's our killer right there, Chief.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -The victim was shot.
-How can a dog fire a gun? -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
-That's a bad dog right there. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
And he's about to face some...
"Woof" justice.
We're in doors. Fuck you.
NARRATOR 3: And he won't stop asking the hard questions.
How 'bout a certainly reasonable science degree to--
Yeah, okay.
NARRATOR 3: Because he's passionate about his job.
Despite not fully understanding what that job is.
If we don't have something solid by tomorrow,
D.A. is gonna have my ass.
Why would the D.A. have your ass?
We don't work for the D.A.
-What? -We don't work for the D.A.
-(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -You do understand that, right?
Please, tell us you understand that.
I understand that. Totally.
NARRATOR 3: Oh, there's no way he understands that.
Because this guy, will not quit.
How about a certainly reasonable--
-Stop talking. -Okay.
-Keep up the good work. -Okay.
NARRATOR 3: And even when his team abandons him
he's not afraid to call for back-up.
-This better be good. -Oh, it is.
I brought in some extra help.
Expert witnesses to help lock in this case.
Take a look.
We got, the Forensic Dentist,
Twin Boy Detectives,
an old timely prospector with a divining rod,
sack full of magic eight balls,
and the county's foremost crime sniffing pony.
None of this is admissible in court.
Actually, three of them have testified in court before and they all got convictions.
Is that the bologna evidence sandwich?
Oh my God!
CSI, Crime Scene Idiot.


Forensic Science: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

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Amy.Lin 2017 年 10 月 16 日 に公開
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