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Scientists say blood spatter analysis needs more rigor

Some people in North Carolina might be convicted in crimes involving shootings based on blood pattern analysis, but scientists say that people trained in this analysis are not taught with the scientific rigor needed for accuracy. This could result in the conviction of innocent people.

For example, one man who has been in prison in Texas since the 1980s for the murder of his wife was convicted on evidence from blood pattern analysis that showed he was standing near his wife when she was shot. The man claims that he was at a conference 120 miles away at the time. Blood pattern evidence has also been used in some prominent cases, including the murder trials of O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector. If the blood pattern in the Texas case was in fact analyzed incorrectly, the man might be innocent. He has a final attempt at requesting a new trial ahead, but his last appeal was rejected in 2018.

An example of a typical error is in reconstructing whether the victim was sitting or standing at the time of the shooting. The training that analysts receive leaves a wide margin of error in determining this. Experts say that analyzing blood patterns can reveal valuable information, but the methods need an overhaul that is unlikely to happen soon.

A person who is facing a trial in which the prosecution plans to use blood spatter evidence or other forensics may want to talk to an attorney about how a criminal defense strategy could address this. In addition to being misinterpreted, forensic evidence can also be mishandled, and this issue could be raised as well. Other types of evidence could also be called into question. For example, eyewitness accounts are often inaccurate. If evidence was obtained illegally, the case might be dismissed.

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