The Champion

June 2003 , Page 61 

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Faulty forensic evidence

By Michele Nethercott

Read more Indigent Defense columns.

The ever-increasing numbers of DNA based exonerations that have occurred over the last decade present a historically unparalleled opportunity to analyze the causes of wrongful convictions. Although the law enforcement community and the courts bear the heaviest responsibility for convictions driven by police and prosecutorial misconduct, a substantial number of these cases involved faulty forensic evidence that should have been exposed and vigorously challenged by the defense. In the overwhelming majority of these innocence cases the defense counsel performance was dismal. This discomforting truth requires action by the defense bar because we cannot simply assume that the problem of bad forensic evidence has been solved by the advent of DNA testing. Whether unreliable scientific evidence is the product of incompetence, malice or indifference there is every reason to believe that it will be with us for the foreseeable future.

Prosecutors have at their dispos

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