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Forensic Science Can Overturn Murder Convictions. But When?


Combine technology with objective analytics and critical thinking, and innocent men like Dwight DuBose are freed from years of unwarranted captivity. Although he indeed pled guilty to end his 17-year prison stint, it was forensic science to the rescue once again. Murder cases across America are being taken by nonprofits like the Innocence Project, who in turn fight for defendants’ freedom. Or life.

With so many cases fraught with undiscovered errors, and technology advancing the world of forensics, will more Florida murder convictions get overturned due to antediluvian DNA testing methods devoutly trusted several decades ago? And if so, when?

Crime Shows Slant Real-World Forensics

A deluge of real-life shows like Forensic Files create an altered reality that many scientists believe skews how forensics actually work. Viewers are given an inside look into how new ways of finding blood spatter led investigators in a new direction, but turns them another direction when some rare type of aphid skin is discovered on an old musty shirt.

Most shows only show laboratory work performed by scientists. Few, if any, show field work necessary to collect, preserve and test evidence that leads to more evidence. Until recently, even fewer depicted how forensic sciences overturned murder convictions.

Governed by principles of admissible evidence and criminal procedure, forensic science can influence juries, lessen sentences and even exonerate defendants completely. Because murder is serious in every state, more closed cases should be reopened to examine the breadth of evidence collected, procedures used in collection and if additional evidence can be manifested from anything in closed case files.

Furthering forensic sciences means television should keep educating, albeit on a much broader scale, and journalists should avoid gratuitous speculation of ‘potential’ innovations in crime solving.

Breaking Through 

Midway into the 1980s, forensic DNA and criminal science hit the ground running. Investigators were given a much-needed tool to help solve complex crimes, guilty persons were proven such, and innocent people were almost immediately ruled out as suspects. It was epic.

What started out as an exploration into the unknown world of DNA has turned into a race toward sophistication of testing methods. From probabilistic software to an improved perspective of genomic information, technology and science have teamed up to further forensics beyond what anyone anticipated was possible.

But while everyone is spending time developing, testing, redeveloping and writing white papers, who represents the innocent prisoner waiting for his or her overturned conviction 30 years in the making? Who stands before a panel of judges, fighting to have evidence once deemed inadmissible admitted for further testing?

Before answering, bear in mind that the Innocence Project is one of few nonprofits handling thousands of requests annually, many which they lack the technology or wherewithal to fight. Attorneys who defended murder cases have tools in their arsenal specific only to waging courtroom battles, often carrying the torches lit by IP and similar firms to the finish line.

Breakthroughs in forensic science seem mere moments away, which is the only hope the thousands of unjustly convicted people in America like Dwight DuBose have in righting judicial wrongs.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Murder accusations can upend your life, with the possibility of mandatory life or death on the table. When your freedom is on the line, trust Donald C. Barrett, P.A. in Tampa to fight rigorously, and thoroughly, to reduce or remove the threats murder charges bring. Phone, visit in person or email today.


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