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Craig Mastantuono Sept. 20, 2016

The White House released a report today that will effect the admissibilty of certain scientific evidence in criminal trials. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) conducted a study looking at the validity of forensic evidence, including DNA, bitemarks, fingerprints, firearm, hair and footwear analysis. It concludes that nearly every method is flawed, and some more than others. For example, as to bitemark evidence, "PCAST finds that bitemark analysis does not meet the scientific standards for foundational validity, and is far from meeting such standards. To the contrary, available scientific evidence strongly suggests that examiners cannot consistently agree on whether an injury is a human bitemark and cannot identify the source of bitemark with reasonable accuracy." Report at 100. It further states that there is little chance that it can be developed into a scientifically valid method. Id. 

The report is easy to digest and will be a focal point of forensic evidence litigation moving forward. We'll continue to keep you updated in the effect of this study on litigation in Wisconsin.