Other of research and the variability that

Other forensic
techniques have not been able to generate dependable results and therefore their
reliability has been questioned One of these reasons is that there is
unreliable or insufficient evidence to support the use of certain techniques. Bite
mark analysis, more formerly referred to as forensic odontology, is one of the
most controversial forensic techniques due to the lack of research and the variability
that occurs between samples. The most variation between samples comes from the
amount of swelling soon after the bite. Other factors include the amount the
skin deforms after a bite and how it heals. The research is improving due to
more modern technology. However, a journal article published by the Californian
Dental Association states that using cadavers to analyse different bite marks is
not an effective method because studies “will produce totally different data
results than research conducted on living people.” (6). Although this information
is valuable, it is also extremely difficult to find volunteers for the research
which limits the quantity of research that be conducted. Fire is another discipline that, although
there has been extensive research into it, experts do not fully understand the
chemical processes that take place. More research needs to be carried out,
focusing on the variability of burn patterns and how these change if other
accelerants are present, for example petrol. However, the presence of materials
such as polyester, often found in cushions, can mimic the spread of a fire
fuelled by petrol (7).
This makes it more difficult
for forensic fire investigators to. Gerald Hurst was quoted to say, “I
could take almost any fire and if I were so inclined, convince a jury that it
was arson. It’s frighteningly simple, frighteningly easy.” Hurst was a leading
fire expert who worked in the industry for several decades as well as
publishing reports and investigations. He explained in these reports that due
to advances in fire investigation and an inconsistent study, a man convicted of
arson, Cameron Willingham, and facing a lethal injection was not guilty.
Although this research was not enough to get the Willingham released, Hurst was
also part of another team, which was able to prove that the same defective
techniques that had been used in the first case had also been used in a second.
This report led to the exoneration of Ernest Willis, who had also been on death
row after being wrongly imprisoned for the killing of two women. This quote
also links to another argument raised when questioning the reliability of
forensic science.


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