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When junk science finds its way into criminal courtrooms

If you regularly watch television, chances are that you either actively watch or have at least come across a show centered on criminal forensic work. Programs focused on this field fascinate the public for many reasons. One of these reasons involves the seeming infallibility of forensic evidence. Even if trained detectives cannot root out the truth, criminal forensic work can.

However, it is important to understand that these shows are dramas, not documentaries. Just as comedy writers seek to make audiences laugh, writers on shows like CSI seek to craft stories that will intrigue and satisfy. In real life, criminal forensic work is not always so reliable, conclusive or even legitimate.

Science and junk science

Think back to your high school science classes. Do you recall learning about the scientific method? There is a very specific way that scientific theories and advances must be tested, examined and reviewed before they can be considered to be truly "scientific."

Unfortunately, some advances are utilized by less detail-oriented forensic scientists before they have been proven effective. When this situation leaks into a criminal courtroom, cases can be compromised and lives can be dramatically impacted if this (for lack of a better term) junk science is accepted by judges and juries.

The devil in the details

Like any scientific field, criminal forensic work depends on meticulous attention to detail. When details are dismissed, important elements glossed over or technology misbehaves, forensic conclusions can prove misleading, incomplete or utterly incorrect.

This is one of the reasons why it is so vitally important for criminal defendants to retain the services of experienced criminal defense attorneys. Attorneys who have been exposed to the challenges of forensic evidence can aid accused persons in presenting the most informed defense possible. Sometimes, an informed defense relies upon bringing the gaps in forensic evidence to light.

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