The tragic abduction and death of Pamela Foddrill beginning on August 18th, 1995, relied on investigators from the Indiana State Police, FBI, multiple Greene County police agencies, and Greene County Prosecutors to arrest and convict the five individuals who committed this heinous act. Those who were arrested and eventually convicted for different criminal offenses are Roger Long, Jerry Russell Sr., John Redman, Wanda Hubbell, and Plynia Fowler. One could look at the investigations these agencies completed and evaluate them in two phases, forensic evidence and investigative processes. The former being defined as the evidence collected in order to convict or rule out suspects, and the latter being defined as the way the investigators developed the investigation and how it evolved throughout the ensuing years. In order to evaluate these two different subjects, one needs to examine the similarities and differences between this investigation and theories about how investigation of this type develop, the nuances of this investigation not able to be explained by theory, investigatory elements that
For example, one can note how the introduction of the Daubert criteria in the courtroom has played an important role within forensic anthropology. The Daubert efforts allow for the connection between data and methods to be used as admissibility of the conclusions, rather than on the credentials of the experts (Dirkmaat, 2008, p. 36). This copernican shift of the legal system regarding the treatment of scientific evidence as it is presented in court, distinguishes the primary role of forensic anthropologists in mass disaster scenarios and the enhanced role for quantitative methods in human skeletal analysis (Dirkmaat, 2008, p.
Science has come a long way over the years. It has helped countless every day struggles and cure diseases most commonly found. What you don’t hear about however is the advancement of forensic science. Forensic science has helped solve countless cases of murder, rape, and sexual assault. In the case of John Joubert, it helped solve the murders of three young boys with one small piece of evidence that linked him directly to the crime.
There comes a time in the criminal justice system where a law that was written to protect us will be challenged through a court case. That case will eventually make history and will become a reference in future cases with similar dilemmas. In 1983, one particular case met the criteria (Arizona vs. Youngblood). In this case, Larry Youngblood was convicted by a jury in Arizona of child molestation, sexual assault, and kidnapping of a ten-year-old boy. Both a criminologist for the State and an expert witness for the defendant testified as to what they believed the results were from the tests that were performed on the samples shortly after they were collected, they also commented on later tests performed on the samples from the boy’s clothing
The Daubert Trilogy refers to the three key cases that established precedence for how judges determine the admissibility of expert testimony. Joiner, which held that a district court judge may exclude expert testimony when there are gaps between the evidence relied on by an expert and his conclusion, and that an abuse-of-discretion standard of review is the proper standard for appellate courts to use in reviewing a trial court's decision of whether it should admit expert testimony.
This has resulted in an increased demand for prosecution to produce viable and tangible forensic evidence, in order to satisfy the high standard of proof in criminal proceedings. Donald E. Shelton conducted a survey in which he wanted to discover the amount of jurors that expected the prosecution to provide some form of scientific evidence; his findings showed that “46 percent expected to see some kind of scientific evidence in every criminal case. 22 percent expected to see DNA evidence in every criminal case. 36 percent expected to see fingerprint evidence in every criminal case. And 32 percent expected to see ballistic or other firearms laboratory evidence in every criminal case.” This statistic shows how the CSI effect is raising expectations of jurors and when the expectations of the jurors are raised it becomes hard for prosecutors and court cases in general because due to the expectations of the jurors not being met there then becomes a lack of conviction in
Under the modified Daubert standard, relevant scientific evidence is only admissible if it is centered upon testable hypotheses, conforms with the standard rate of potential errors, has been peer reviewed, and if the method is generally accepted in the scientific community (Hoog, 2008). However, there are three problems with the application of the Daubert standard. Firstly, David E. Bernstein and Jeffrey D. Jackson (2004) proved that there was no uniformity in the application of the standard in the sense that it’s only abided with in a portion of the states, and not necessarily with full adherence. Secondly, since the judge is not a scientist, it is difficult for him/her to, without doubt, determine the full honesty of the experts’ testimonies. An example from the Willingham case would be the two medical experts asserting that he was a sociopath although one was an irrelevant family counselor and the other, known as “Dr. Death” and later expelled from the American Psychiatric Association for ethical violations, had not even spoken to Todd Willingham. Last but not least, science is characterized by its incessant evolution in a way that a single new anomaly can easily falsify a strong scientific theory. In simple English, even experts know that there is no ultimate certainty to
v Lavallee (1990), expert testimony is admissible if the evidence is relevant to the case, even if it is based on hearsay. Though the appellant did not testify, rule 804 of the Federal Rules of Evidence allows hearsay statements to be considered in the event that the appellant refuses to testify (Matson, 2004). The hearsay evidence assists the expert in determining their opinion, but it is not used as evidence to the existence of the facts. As long as there is some admissible evidence to the expert’s testimony, the jury or judge cannot ignore it – the greater matter is determining how much weight should be given to the testimony. The judge is required to warn the jury of the reliability and credibility of the information, and to determine a weight at which the jury should use to influence their decision regarding the case (Ottawa L. Rev.,
President Clinton is about to select his first nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the next few months, Governor Schaefer will get an opportunity to fill key vacancies in Maryland 's two highest courts. It 's a good time to rethink the criteria for selecting judges.
September 11th, 2001, left a devastating impact on not only the United States, but worldwide. Many families had been separated and many souls were lost in what was one of the most terroristic events that has ever happened on American ground. As two planes crashed into the Twin Towers located in New York, thousands of people would be left stuck in the crumbling building, some able to escape, while others were not as lucky. In an essay by Peter Bergen called “Could it Happen Again? In the National Interest”, Bergen highlights inside details of the fatal attack and what caused Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda to reign its terror on the Twin Towers. He explores the text of the Quran and the impact it’s leaving on its people and also brings in an expert in international politics in the Middle East in order to solidify his idea on what really caused 9/11.
This factor is significant for increasing wrongful convictions because of issues regarding those who present the evidence. Jurors are more likely to view experts with more experience in the field as more credible than those with less experience. However, research reveals that experts with more experience were no better than novice experts in testing DNA evidence (Thompson, Tangen, & McCarthy, 2013). Furthermore, when presented with contextual bias, expert witnesses were more likely to reach a conclusion in their research that was consistent with the context given (Tompson et al., 2013). This means that despite jurors weighing forensic evidence heavily, these experts are likely to make mistakes within their research that could result in improper
However, no conclusive results could be found, which led to the use of a testimony from the forensic linguist, Robert Leonard. Throughout his testimony, he notes the similarities between the writing style of both the suspect, Coleman, and the unknown individual who committed the crime (e.g., both start most sentences with the f-word and misuse apostrophes), which led the jury to find him guilty. This is an example of how, unlike the police, forensic linguistics can be successful and useful in proving crimes. They then transition the focus to explaining how individuals - jurists, police, judges, anyone - tend to dismiss the little misunderstandings and errors within evidence, that these linguists have just started working on to fix. Unlike the previous articles that I dissected, this article has a focus on the tampering of evidence. Hitt includes the discussion of Roger Shuy, the father of forensic linguistics, who discussed how evidence in the courtroom has been known to be misused through the “distorted… process of writing or recording” evidence/testimonies. An example of this would be the police transcript described in the
“If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the
As a digital forensic investigator, I was assigned to a case where my expertise where needed. My role in the investigation was to search the suspects digital evidence to help find more helpful information and advance the case. Overall my job as a digital forensic investigator was to recover and analyse the digital evidence so that it could be used in the criminal prosecution.
Why did David Payne kill himself though, leaving behind a note that could be interpreted as guilty? Possibly he was expressing sorrow for getting her pregnant, which led her to the site of her death. It could have also been because – being a drunk – his mental condition was not stable enough to handle the death of his fiancé. He was, however, not present at the time of the murder, as the case file states, so does he have a strong alibi? No, but it can be argued that neither did any of the other suspects. It says he was absent at the time of murder but the time of murder was not stated in the information provided. This leaves a range from Sunday night to Tuesday night. During Monday, David was searching for Maggie with Albert. He could not have killed her then because of the company. During his interview, he was drunk, which would not have been wise of him because intoxication might allow for guilt to be slipped. Had he been clever enough to cause an unsolved murder, he would have thought of this too. The general cluelessness of David makes up for any lack of alibi.