Peter Neufeld talks to Here&Now and raises issues in relation to forensic science including bitemarks.
You can listen to the programme by clicking the play button at the bottom of this post.
Neufeld is the co-founder and co-director of the New York Innocence Project – one of the most active IPs in the United States and, with their strategic litigation programme, one that aims to go beyond correcting wrongful convictions but actually changing the science and context of forensic work to ensure that such convictions don’t happen again.
There is no doubt that programmes such as Netflix’s Making a Murderer have increased the public’s awareness of the issues within the US criminal justice system – however, there is a need for a sustained and scientific approach to correcting mistakes and making sure they dont happen again.
This month, the National Commission on Forensic Science is pressing the Justice Department to look into ways to improve forensic science standards and how forensic evidence is used by law enforcement and in court.
Peter Neufeld explains the problems with certain types of forensic evidence to Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd.
On the unreliability of bite marks
“With bite marks, they don’t have a means of determining whether or not the impression left on the skin is similar to the impression of an accused, and the problem is that skin, as you know, moves. So let’s say that you bit me in five different places and two of those times I was stationary and three times I was twisting my body, none of those impressions would look similar. The details in the bite mark are more often than not so few that when you say that it’s consistent with this particular suspect, well it may be consistent but it might be consistent with thousands or tens of thousands of other men.”