Expert Testimony

Expert Testimony in North Carolina – Goode, Howerton, Ward

Whether an expert can testify as an expert in a criminal trial is a decision normally made by the judge. In the United States there are generally two tests – some states use the Daubert test. Others use the Frye test. North Carolina has its own approach. Daubert requires the judge to be a gatekeeper,…

Read More

Based on my experience and training…

This video is pretty funny. The vast majority of officers I deal with are good, honest people trying to do a difficult job. But occasionally you hear the phrase “based on my experience and training” one too many times. Other phrases also crop up surprisingly frequently, driven by case law. For instance, the courts long…

Read More

Flawed Forensic Science under Review

The Washington Post has an extensive report on various forensic science. The National Academy of Sciences in 2009 called for, among other things, removing labs and forensic science professionals from control of prosecutors and law enforcement. In 2011, North Carolina renamed the state lab from the State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab to the North…

Read More

Fingerprint Analysis is Unreliable

Most people get their understanding of forensic science from crime shows, such as CSI, or movies. The impression that’s given is that forensic science is incredibly accurate and reliable. For instance, most people believe that fingerprinting analysis is a reliable way to determine whether someone touched an item. Or they believe that shoe print analysis…

Read More

Proving a Drug is a Drug

Let’s assume that a police officer spots someone with a bag full of pills. The pills are of different shapes, colors, and sizes. But, based on various information – maybe a confidential tip – the police officer concludes they are controlled substances (drugs) and that the person ought to be arrested for drug possession. A…

Read More

Recent Developments in Confrontation Clause Law

The confrontation clause of the United States Constitution provides every defendant to question – in court – his accusers. Accusers is a broad term, including not just the victim, but also anyone who may have said something incriminating about the defendant outside of court. The confrontation clause is a protection for the defendant, allowing the…

Read More

How forensic DNA is collected, extracted, and profiled

DNA forensic analysis has come a long way since it was first developed in the early 1980s and commercially available in the late 1980s.  Improvements in collection, quantification, and amplification techniques have meant that forensic technicians – the men and women employed by places like the State Bureau of Investigation – are now able to…

Read More