Friday, February 20, 2009

You Won't See This On CSI

A really disturbing story (in more ways than one) at Reason Online. With shows like CSI and all its spinoffs and Forensic Files and the like, we've come to accept forensic evidence to be the foolproof method of determining guilt that eyewitness testimony never was.

But what if forensic evidence is faked? That appears to be the case for a couple of doctors who served as expert witnesses for prosecutors in Mississippi and Louisiana. A video has surfaced of the doctors seemingly manufacturing bite marks on a corpse:

In 1993, the two conducted an examination on a 23-month-old girl named Haley Oliveaux of West Monroe, Louisiana, who had drowned in her bathtub. The video shows bite marks mysteriously appearing on the toddler's face during the time she was in the custody of Hayne and West. It then shows West repeatedly and methodically pressing and scraping a dental mold of a man's teeth on the dead girl's skin.

After reading the above article (warning: autopsy video available at link), I still think forensic science is a useful tool, and when used correctly a powerful tool for getting at the truth. But this story proves that this tool can be abused just like any other. These guys better hope they get a fairer trial than they helped give their victims.

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