Bite mark evidence and testimony-defense resource

Occasionally there is a case involving bite mark evidence and testimony.  This type of testimony is subject to challenge under Houser.  Here I am talking about a case where the bite mark testimony goes to prove the identity of the accused.

So, to that end the defense needs resources to challenge admissibility of the evidence under Houser and also to evaluate and challenge evidence if it is admitted by the military judge.

THE INNOCENCE PROJECT (IP) is a national litigation and public policy organization based in New York dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.  As the DNA exonerations have revealed, the misapplication of forensic science has been a leading cause of wrongful convictions.  The newly created Strategic Litigation unit is aimed at, among other things, eliminating junk science from courtrooms nationwide, beginning with bite mark comparison evidence.  To that end, IP seeks to partner with an attorney(s) on criminal cases involving bite mark comparison.  Attorneys with cases meeting the following criteria should contact IP directly. 

  • Bite mark testimony is proffered by the government as evidence identifying the defendant to exclusion of all other potential sources
  • Pre-trial, trial, appellate or post-conviction cases:  The primary interest is assisting with pre-trial Frye/Daubert motions and hearings, but IP will consider bite mark cases in all stages of litigation
  • Other disciplines, in particular other pattern or impression evidence:  Although the initial focus is on bite marks, other novel, unvalidated disciplines will be considered. 
  • NOTE:  Strategic Litigation will consider cases with or without biological evidence, i.e., non-DNA cases.

IP Attorney to contact is:
Chris Fabricant (cfabricant@innocenceproject.org)
40 Worth Street, Suite 701
New York, NY 10013
212.364.5997

h/t to NACDL, and here’s a link to their motions and brief bank.

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n.  A Houser motion is what I call a Daubert challenge at court-martial.  I have linked to an old one of mine.  You will need to update, don’t just copy it, it’s an idea not the word.