Radley Balko on bite mark evidence

Radley Balko has done a four-part series on bite mark evidence for the Washington Post.  Part two discusses Mississippi cases.  It doesn’t mention one of the first lawyers to expose  Michael West’s “blue light” magic as hokum  and that lawyer was John Holdridge.

Some twenty-odd years ago I was arguing a death penalty case in the Mississippi Supreme Court that had a bite mark issue. Justice Smith asked me “didn’t Ted Bundy get convicted based, at least in part, on bite marks.”   I guess that’s the unwrittten rule of evidence known as the “Ted Bundy rule.”

I don’t know if bite marks are being used as evidence in Mississippi any more.  If not, it’s still an interesting read as well as a lesson in how the system allows screwed-up forensic evidence in its zeal to convict.

Part One:  How the flawed ‘science’ of bite mark analysis has sent innocent people to prison

Part Two: It literally started with a witch hunt: A history of bite mark evidence

Part Three:  Attack of the bite mark matchers

Part Four – The path forward on bite mark matching – and the rearmirror

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