Bite Mark Analysis May Not Be Accurate Enough to Use in Criminal Trials

  • By:heather foelsing
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In a criminal trial—especially one where the penalties if convicted may be severe—few things are more important than accurate evidence. Unfortunately, shoddy evidence types have been used—and accepted as permissible in court—in prior convictions in Texas. From dog-sniffing lineups to poor forensic practices, innocent people have been put behind bars as a result of inaccurate ‘proof.’ But now, the Texas Forensic Science Commission is taking a look into one type of questionable evidence that has been used to convict at least two persons wrongfully in Texas: bite mark analysis.

What is bite mark analysis?

Bite mark analysis is exactly what it sounds like – comparing bite marks on a victim to a defendant’s own dental records. While the method may sound like a surefire way to reach a guilty verdict, it’s not; experts often diverge significantly when analyzing bite marks. In fact, in one case—that of Steven Mark Chaney, who was sentenced to a life in prison for a conviction of killing a couple in East Dallas—dental experts told the jury that there was only a “one in a million” chance that the bite marks on the victims were not Chaney’s. However, since that time, forensic experts say that the “one in a million” statement is unbelievable; bite mark analysis has never really been exposed to any scientific scrutiny.

Commission Votes to Scrutinize Bite Mark Analysis

In a triumph for justice, the Texas Forensic Science Commission has vowed to put bite mark analysis to the test – last week, the commission voted to investigate the practice of using bite mark analysis as evidence in criminal trials.

If the commission determines that bite mark analysis is not a precise type of evidence, the decision may be key in exonerating the wrongfully accused. In Texas, laws have already been passed to make it possible for people to challenge convictions; this is one more step along the path to righteousness.

When Facing Criminal Charges in Texas

If you’ve been accused of a crime in Texas—or even if you’ve already been sentenced of a crime that you believe you didn’t commit—you need a criminal attorney immediately. From ensuring that fallacious evidence is kept out of the courtroom to pursing an appeal if need be, the attorneys at The Hill Law Firm can help. To schedule a free case consultation with a criminal expert today, call 713-352-1599.

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