Thursday, August 28, 2014

Who's the Real Killer?.......and Does It Matter?

Here we go again. America's vaunted criminal justice system has two convicted felons, neither of whom will ever be free to transgress in public again, both claiming to have been the murderer of a gay Richmond antiques dealer. And they're not the only claimants. According to this story in the Times-Dispatch a death row inmate in Florida maintains that he, not an Iowa inmate that pleaded no contest to the murder charge, is the real killer of Henry Weatherford, Jr. in 1994.

The case against Lonnie Ray Wiseman in Weatherford's murder is based on the newest form of disputable evidence, DNA testing. Tissue samples of arrested individuals are routinely taken, their DNA profiled and then matched against a database of DNA gathered at crime scenes. Wiseman was tied to the murder on the basis of DNA samples gathered from Weatherford's car and then sentenced last month.

Like its pseudo-scientific predecessors fingerprinting and lie detectors, DNA matching, which can't be explained by the cops that take the samples, the prosecutors that introduce it as evidence, the judges that admit it or the juries that convict on its basis, has become accepted with zero public understanding purely because of supposed scientific validity. People go for it based on technology that's understood by only a small number of so-called experts. We see the same phenomenon with the computer-generated models used to explain climate change and economic events. Not surprisingly, the people that perform the tests and modelling are sometimes found to have falsified the results for various reasons. 

"Cold cases", unsolved crimes that date back decades, are apparently what cops investigate when they run out of doughnuts. Both of these guys are career criminals that have been in jail for years but somehow it's important to tag at least one of them with the responsibility for a an event that occurred when Mrs. Bill Clinton was still a housewife and a first-class stamp cost 29 cents. Changing the name of the killer will make a big improvement in American life.

Here's another example. This guy is on Arizona's death row but there's a possibility Utah might extradite him to stand trial for another murder.

Best of all, DNA evidence has identified the notorious "Jack the Ripper", who terrorized the ladies of the evening in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888, as the Daily Mail can now reveal.

Unfortunately, studies have determined that DNA testing doesn't necessarily produce a positive match.

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