Natty Shafer Law

Utah lawyer for criminal and immigration cases

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More on the Dubious Science of Bite Mark Analysis

A few weeks ago, I discussed some problems with bite mark analysis. It seems at least one forensic dentist agrees with me. Michael West, a Mississippi dentist, testified 81 times that bite marks on people’s bodies matched the teeth of suspects, but he no longer believes in his own specialty.

In a deposition obtained by The Clarion-Ledger, Mr. West said, “I no longer believe in bite-mark analysis. I don’t think it should be used in court. I think you should use DNA.” Previously in court he had emphasized how reliable bite mark evidence was and said that each mark was unique. Unfortunately, he was both wrong and successful at helping prosecutors get convictions. Cases he testified on are now being reviewed:

Two of those convicted in a 2001 aggravated assault case in which West testified, Leigh Stubbs and Tami Vance, are now receiving a new trial. They are both out on bond and will be arraigned today in Brookhaven.

Here’s to hoping that every state will soon prohibit this type of testimony.