The Maryland Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that firearms experts will no longer be able to testify that a bullet was fired from a particular gun. Many forensic methods that rely on pattern-matching, like bite mark and tool mark analysis, rely on subjective interpretations that are presented as scientific conclusions with definitive solutions.

In the case of bite mark evidence, government watchdogs report that examiners not only cannot identify the source of bitemark with reasonable accuracy, they cannot even consistently agree on whether an injury is a human bitemark. It turns out that using rifling groove patterns to match an unknown bullet to a known firearm is not repeatable, reproducible, or accurate to any statistically valid level of certainty. I have previously reported similar reports suggesting that drug dogs are even more inaccurate. Cops know they are inaccurate, but refer to drug K9s as “4 legged money generators.

Dogs are very good at reading people. They know that if they give their handler what he wants, they get a reward. If the cop wants the dog to alert on a car, the dog will alert on a car. There was one study that actually supported that, but once the study was published, cops have refused to participate in any more studies unless those studies are being performed by pro-policing organizations.

Cops don’t even keep records of how often dogs alert to drugs and then no drugs are found. The police say:

“There’s been cars that my dog’s hit on… and just because there wasn’t a product in it, doesn’t mean the dog can’t smell it,” says Gunnar Fulmer, a K9 officer with the Walla Walla Police Department. “[The drug odor] gets permeated in clothing, it gets permeated in the headliners in cars.”

The problem here is obvious- even giving the dog the benefit of the doubt, probable cause means that the search is being done because drugs are probably there. What the cop in the above quote is saying is that by alerting, the dog is indicating that drugs may have been there at some time in the past. The dog indicates the odor of drugs, but not the presence of drugs. That isn’t the same thing and shouldn’t be enough to trigger a warrantless search of someone’s property.

It isn’t just police dogs, or bite marks, or even bullet matching. Falsifying evidence to get higher conviction rates is widespread among police, and the FBI lab itself has been caught falsifying lab tests. Much of what is called “forensics” is little more than pseudoscientific nonsense that hides behind the public’s virtual ignorance of what science really is, but it sounds good and is nothing more than snake oil designed to fool a jury into convicting the defendant.

When I worked for the fire department, we participated in the United Way. One of the things I used to donate money to was the Innocence Project. They use scientific results to prove that people were wrongly convicted- things like DNA evidence to prove that a man on death row was actually innocent. It’s a worthy cause.

Categories: CopsCriminalstyranny


Elrod · June 25, 2023 at 1:05 am

Heh. Back when i worked for Sooper Big Mega Corp we did the full court press version of United Way in which employees were bludgeoned into submission tio achieve 100% participation. Corporate Goodness, doncha kno. At the meetings the UW brochure was handed out and I actually read it; in the DC area there’s an organization called Bon-A-Bond, very heavily supported by United Way, to provide jail bonds “to those unable to obtain bonds through normal channels.”

So, there’s a group of crims so untrustworthy regular bond agencies do not trust them – at all – but I’m supposed to fork over my money to put them back on the street? Every year I wrote in the NRA’s Civil Rights Defense Fund as my chosen charity – it’s a lcompletely legit 501 (c) (3) choice – and got as many gun owners as I could find in Mega Corp to do the same. It was “met with less than management’s full approval” as they say, but “did you want 100% participation or not?”

RE: the Forensics thing – I’ve often wondered if DOJ and the other Powers That Be were / are behind the proliferation of CSI shows on TV in an effort to convince the public that Sufficient Science could actually be conducted. (Using a bunch of wavy-haired lifeguard types in Armani suits and attractive females in tank tops was a good way to sell the idea, though).

Josey Is Mean · June 25, 2023 at 1:52 am

Once worked with a guy on work release because his buddy struck and killed a police dog with a vehicle while he was a passenger.
The state sanctioned Highwaymen are there to generate revenue for the Leviathan and collect their pensions.
I almost feel bad for dullards who believe that the police will swoop in and save them just in time.

Don Curton · June 25, 2023 at 6:56 am

I’ve always wondered about the bullet matching thing. There have been 5 gadzillion .38 specials made since the beginning of time, and about that many different ammo varieties for it as well. Are you saying that the barrel of my particular (mass-produced) revolver is so unique, so different, that there’s not a single other 38 in the entire world that can’t be mistaken for it?

Hell, what if I commit a murder, then scour the barrel with a wire brush and then head out to the range and run 5 or 6 boxes of ammo thru it. Try matching that!

I can see it maybe as supporting evidence, like the suspect has a gun of the same caliber and ammo that matches the recovered bullet. It makes it more likely but it still isn’t beyond a reasonable doubt. But you add motive, opportunity, etc. to the mix and maybe it makes sense. But I wouldn’t convict based on bullet forensics alone. I’ve used (real) statistics too much in my job to trust shit like that.

Gerry · June 25, 2023 at 8:50 am

I think you hit it on the head. My ex- job had me working with explosives dogs and handlers and it became apparent that some dogs just wanted to please the handler. It’s important to understand they are a single unit. A good dog and a poor handler are a poor team, same is true if the rolls are reversed. The dogs have an unbelievable nose and may sense the presence of something long gone. I also learned that good handlers know when their dog is just not up to par. I’ll assume that this is also true of drug detection K-9’s

    Anon · June 25, 2023 at 5:10 pm

    The new push for LE is matching spent brass. The .gov has provided funding to cities as small as Montgomery, AL to supply systems to scan and enter into a national database images of spent brass. Officers are being asked to pick up and submit any brass collected on a call.

Jonathan · June 25, 2023 at 8:42 pm

This is good progress.
I was surprised when Maryland got rid of their case collection and stopped requiring a fired case from every new gun sold in the state.
Their testing showed that they couldn’t trace a case to one of a batch of 10 guns.

I’ve seen research that both DNA and fingerprints are not as unique as they’ve been presented.

I like the Biblical criteria that convictions required two witnesses and the death penalty required three.
Courts SHOULD require multiple of these factors, never just one.

Slow Joe Crow · June 26, 2023 at 12:25 am

It’s about time this junk science hit the dumpster. It was questionable when firearms were handmade and in the modern era of automation, statistical process control, cold hammer forged barrels and polygonal rifling lots of guns will have identical bores and breeches and produce spent brass and bullets that are indistinguishable. For extra fun, modern semi-auto pistols have interchangeable barrels, so a nefarious sort might buy multiple barrels and multiple extractors making the “science” even more useless. Sadly dog alerts still have judicial notice although states that legalize Marijuana neuter the “I smelled weed” or the dog alerted as caus fir searches and theft under color of law (civil forfeiture ). This has caused wailing, gnashing of teeth and threats to euthanize drug dogs from the police whose rice bowl has been broken.

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