Dysart Willis
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Evidence Of Nothing – Understanding Forensic “Science”

The general understanding of evidence, as it pertains to criminal prosecutions, falls far short of the reality. Misinformation and misunderstanding by the public has repercussions for people who find themselves charged with a crime. While the law requires prosecutors to meet the burden of proof with evidence, many people assume that anyone charged with a crime must be guilty. Would a prosecutor really pursue charges if he or she wasn't positive the accused was guilty?

What Is Evidence?

Forensic evidence is a classic example of something that the public, and many prosecutors, treat with more respect than it may deserve. If a person were to believe popular culture accounts of fingerprint and DNA analysis, no innocent person would ever be convicted. Yet, when the Innocence Project began its work 25 years ago, it found countless examples of forensic evidence being used and presented incorrectly. New analyses were used to free people who had spent years in jail based on forensic "proof" that was never more than an illusion.

New Standards, But Problems Remain

The Department of Justice recently announced new policies regarding how forensic scientists will be able to frame their testimony and reporting. The language requirements are intended to prevent forensic scientists from suggesting a degree of certainty that science does not support. While that is a step int he right direction, it does not address the systemic problems that plague the forensic science industry. There is still a startling willingness of people in the field to substitute guesswork for credible science. When someone's innocence is at stake, there should be no room for doubt when it comes to evidence. When junk science is allowed to send someone to prison, something needs to change.

Source: Gizmodo, "Most Forensic Science Is Bogus. Will New Federal Rules Help?," by Nicole Wetsman, 16 March 2018


Our Results

  • Client was charged in federal court with the felony offense of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. After negotiation with the US Attorney's Office, the felony gun charge was dismissed and our client...

  • Our client was charged with statutory rape and faced mandatory registration as a sex offender if convicted. We were able to work with a forensic expert and the district attorney's office to negotiate a guilty plea..

  • Client charged with Felony Assault on a Police Officer, misdemeanor assault, and resisting an officer. After a jury trial where multiple police officers testified about the incident, our client was found not guilty ..

  • Client investigated by federal law enforcement for possessing child pornography. Ryan began representing the client during the investigation and ultimately the client was not charged with any crimes...

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Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
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