In 2003, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney proposed a plan for an infallible death penalty that required irrefutable scientific evidence, effectively removing any doubt regarding potential innocence in death penalty cases. Forensic science encompasses many scientific disciplines including natural sciences and pattern analysis, but not all such areas experience equal amounts of general acceptance or influence in criminal cases. While DNA analysis and fingerprint identification using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) are both widely accepted forensic applications, recent events expose concerns regarding the authenticity of other disciplines such as hair and bite mark comparison. Before policymakers address the issue of a reinstated death penalty, they must carefully consider the merits of forensic science as well as the potential dangers. Existing issues and a history of wrongful convictions aided by flawed forensic testimony necessitate further investigation and critical analysis of forensic disciplines and the application of forensic evidence in criminal cases.
"Applications of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Cases,"
Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science:
Vol. 4, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/themis/vol4/iss1/12