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The term "forensic evidence" sounds impressive. It sounds so scientific, so certain. We tend to believe (even unconsciously) that if the forensic evidence points to a certain person as the culprit, he or she is certainly guilty.

But we may often be wrong.

According to the Washington Post, a new report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) sheds an interesting light on scientific evidence and its questionable usefulness in criminal investigations. Certain types of evidence such as bite marks, footprints, firearm identification and microscopic hair samples may not really be a reliable way to identify the true perpetrator.

In fact, the report is a jarring reminder that many innocent people have been wrongly convicted over the years, based on inaccurate conclusions formed from imprecise data.

Even The FBI Agrees That Faulty Evidence Is A Real Problem

The FBI recently collaborated with the Innocence Project to investigate several decades of testimony by experts who examined hair samples in criminal cases. Believe it or not, the joint study uncovered errors in 95 percent of the expert testimonies.

In some other cases that relied on bite marks as convicting evidence, later DNA tests showed that the bite-mark evidence was completely wrong. In general, post-conviction DNA tests have revealed that inaccurate forensic evidence has wrongly convicted numerous innocent individuals across the U.S.

So Why Do Judges Still Rely On Such Forensic Techniques?

Even though some forensic techniques (such as bite-mark analysis) aren't reliable according to scientific standards, judges tend to rely on case law and precedent. Countless past judges have admitted such techniques and testimony into the courtroom over the years, so it's too easy for current judges to allow it, too.

The most important thing to remember if you are ever charged with a crime is that the scientific "evidence" against you may not be valid. Because of this, it's imperative to get a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side right away. Your attorney can work to combat faulty evidence and protect your rights, your freedom and your future.

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