The Dallas Conviction Integrity Unit and Lawyers at the Innocence Project are seeking to have a Dallas murder conviction based on a bite mark comparison reversed, the Dallas Morning News describes. There was a “1 to a million” chance, the forensic odontologist testified at the trial, that someone else made those marks. The Texas Forensic Science Commission is also examining such cases state-wide.
“It’s subjective speculation masquerading as science,” said Chris Fabricant, director of strategic litigation for the New York-based Innocence Project. Critics of bite mark analysis, including the National Academy of Sciences, say the procedure is based on unproven assumptions that lead to unreliable conclusions that shouldn’t be relied on to imprison people. Dentists who use the practice and testify in criminal cases concede that errors were made in the past, but they argue that teeth marks are still a valuable legal tool.