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The Problem with Forensics in American Courtrooms

forensic science (blood vial)

The problem with forensic science

In 2009, a study funded by the United States Department of Justice exposed the massive problems with forensic science being admitted into courtrooms across America. Unfortunately, these problems still exist. In 2015, the FBI released devastating news. The FBI determined that the government has sponsored laboratory witnesses who testified wrongly in 33 death penalty cases. The study was too late for nine cases where the execution had already occurred. For five of the cases, the individuals had died of other causes. In 2013, President Barack Obama created the National Forensic Science Commission. The commission consisted of scientists, mathematicians, prosecutors, defense lawyers and  judges. The purpose of the commission was to create national standards for the admissibility of forensic science in order to weed out junk science and prevent inaccurate results. President Trump destroyed it within three months of office.

Texas

In Texas, there is a Texas Forensic Science Commission. It has made inroads into researching and recommending fixes for forensic problems. But, there is a major problem. Despite shocking issues that have come to light, there has yet to be a laboratory or analyst in Texas that has faced disciplined. As a result, the risk of conviction for an innocent person rises when laboratories and analysts can make mistakes with impunity. Without fear of serious discipline, needed changes are slow to occur. Expert witnesses and analysts should be concerned with reporting the truth, not obtaining convictions. The reality is quite different. There have been many people convicted on false evidence by lying expert witnesses.

The treatment of forensic science experts

A large part of this problem is the pressure experts receive from prosecutors. Prosecutors are looking towards the experts to secure their convictions, as opposed to seeking their opinions. I have seen many trials in which the state’s expert was not consulted before taking the witness stand. There is currently no accountability in forensic science at either the federal or state level. The mere existence of a commission does not mean following the rules, as Texas has shown. One role of a defense lawyer is to police the system. Thus, the commissions must contain citizens and defense lawyers. These groups must have equal say in determining disciplinary action when violations occur. Until then, jurors and judges must be very wary of any ‘scientific’ result and search for the truth independently.

Mimi Coffey – Experienced DWI Defense Lawyer in Dallas County

Read more: https://www.mimicoffey.com/about-mimi-coffey/

About Mimi Coffey

Mimi Coffey
Mimi Coffey is a trial attorney with 24 years experience. She is the founder of The Coffey Firm, serving Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties. She is board-certified in DWI by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) and is a Regent of the NCDD. Mimi Coffey also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI attorneys Tarrant County, DWI Lawyer Fort Worth, DWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. I am very involved with the community DFW caring DWI lawyer, Texas Tech School of Law foundation and I enjoy using the skills I have developed to give back to the community. She has also appeared numerous times as a legal commentator for CNN, National Fox News, as well as local Dallas/Fort Worth stations on DWI-related stories. She is also a frequent speaker at both national and statewide seminars. She is a prolific trial attorney with a proven trial record. She has tried over 300 cases, with 80% of them being jury trials in her 18-year career. Her success includes everything from .21 breath tests, blood tests to 3 car accident cases just to name a few. Mimi’s cases have also made good case law for the State of Texas. For example, in Tarvin v. State, it was found that weaving within your own lane was not a traffic violation. In Lajoie v. State, the courts determined that the defendant’s request to have his attorney must be suppressed as opposed to used as evidence of guilt. She is the author of Texas DWI Defense: The Law and Practice. She is also the author of three nationally-published articles and four statewide articles. Mimi has twice attended Indiana University’s Borkenstein Course for state toxicologists both on alcohol and drugs. She has also completed the NHTSA SFST Course, SFST Instructor Course and the 12-Step DRE Mini-Course Program. She is also one of the first attorneys in the United States to attend the Axion Labs Gas Chromatography Training. Her minor in college was Geology lending her a comprehensive and disciplined scientific mind when it comes to scientific and mathematical issues such as blood and breath testing. Mimi has won the President’s Heart of a Champion Award presented by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) numerous times. Mimi also led the effort to get the State Bar of Texas’ Board of Legal Specialization to recognize the NCDD’s DWI Certification. Mimi has been active in 4 legislative sessions in fighting against bad DWI laws. Her efforts prevented the breath/blood test refusal as being a separate crime. She has advocated for true deferred adjudication for DWI. Mimi also sued a Dalworthington Gardens police officer for illegally drawing blood. Since her lawsuit, the 2nd Court of Appeals ruled against police officers drawing blood. (The Court of Criminal Appeals overturned this). Mimi also sued the Texas Department of Public Safety for its double jeopardy surcharge program. Since the initiation of her suit, Texas DPS has instituted amnesty programs based on one’s earning potential.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: https://www.mimicoffey.com


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