February 20, 2009

Manufacturing Guilt?

I urge you to get this into the hands of as many people as possible. AB.

Video Raises Serious Questions About Death Row Conviction. In 1993, 23-month-old Haley Oliveaux drowned in her bathtub in West Monroe, Louisiana. Bite mark identification and analysis performed by forensic experts Steven Hayne and Michael West tied Jimmie Duncan to Oliveaux’s death. Duncan was convicted of murdering the baby girl and sentenced to death. He has been on death row for 10 years. But an autopsy videotape obtained by Reason magazine’s Radley Balko shows the bite marks were not on Oliveaux’s body at the time of her death. You can see the video, and still photos from it, here. Balko asked Michael Bowers, a deputy medical examiner for Ventura County, California, and a past chairman of the American Board of Forensic Odontology’s Exam and Credentialing Committee, to review the tape. When asked how abrasions on Oliveaux's cheek that were not present when the video begins could later appear, Bowers said, "Because Dr. West created them. It was intentional. He's creating artificial abrasions in that video, and he's tampering with the evidence. It's criminal, regardless of what excuse he may come up with about his methods."

Balko's Reporting on Mississippi's Criminal Forensics System

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