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Blood spatter analysis called into question

| Nov 1, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Blood spatter may be a factor in the evidence introduced in homicide, assault and other cases involving violent crimes in Virginia. This kind of analysis of bloodstains has been featured on TV shows like “CSI” and has played a major role in securing convictions in several high-profile murder cases. However, the field of science is being questioned by other experts who say that blood spatter analysis does not produce the kind of certainty required to jail or even execute people for a crime.

Some form of blood spatter analysis has been used since the 1800s, but it has been cited in some modern cases, such as O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector. The idea behind this analysis is to use blood drips, spatters and other traces to reconstruct the crime scene and place people in different spaces in the area. The National Academy of Sciences brought this form of analysis into question in 2009 with a report accusing the practice of a lack of scientific rigor and proper accreditation. While there may, indeed, be lessons to be learned from blood patterns at a homicide scene, poorly trained experts may have different analyses that enable them to work backward from a conclusion rather than the other way around.

Physicists and other scientists have emphasized the importance of a scientific approach to blood spatter analysis that relies on fluid dynamics and physical models rather than the opinion of a particular expert working with the police. Forensic evidence is often believed to be infallible, but when not scientifically grounded, it can be the cause of wrongful convictions.

When people are facing felony criminal charges for serious offenses, the evidence may include blood spatter analysis and other forensic techniques. A criminal defense attorney may present experts to counter these allegations and work to prevent a conviction.