After investigators obtain a wide-variety of evidence from a crime scene, they then perform a myriad of tests to determine whether it links the suspect to the crime. Not all of the tests performed, however, are proven to be scientifically valid. In fact, some methods used may provide inaccurate results.
According to the Innocence Project, more than 354 people have been released from prison after DNA evidence showed they were innocent. In 52% of these cases, the misapplication of forensic science contributed to the wrongful conviction of a suspect.
What tests are used to process evidence?
Decades ago, certain scientific tests were used to process evidence. These include the following:
- Bullet lead analysis
- Hair follicle comparisons
- Tire treadmark comparisons
- Fire burn mark comparisons
Today, however, new technology and methods have proven these procedures to yield inaccurate and unreliable results, according to Criminal Legal News. Investigators and professionals have stopped using many of these testing methods altogether. So what happens to those who were convicted of a crime based off of these faulty tests?
What happens when professionals make errors?
Humans make mistakes quite often. Yet, when these mistakes result in erroneous test results that may convict a person of a crime, it is critical that scientists do their best to avoid making a mistake. In addition to human errors and mistakes, some lab technicians may intentionally misrepresent the results in order to sway the judge or jury.
The way a scientific professional presents their findings to the court may also be misinterpreted if not given in a clear and concise way. This can also lead to confusion and judgement errors as well.