John Samore
Blog: Lawyer’s Insight on Legal Matters: - Criminal Law Concerns - "Lawyer's Insight' is a periodic blog by Mr. Samore on current legal issues that informs readers how current, legal events influence Americans' lives.  If you would like to ask Mr. Samore to address a particular concern which you may have, simply send an email to the address at left with subject "Questions for Lawyer's Insight." Click on the links below to quickly reach a particular topic, or just scroll down to read what is of interest.  Other sources of information from Mr. Samore are on the Common Questions and About Us pages of this website.
If you don’t see a link to a topic of interest, check the other Lawyer’s Insight pages.

Criminal Law Concerns

Why It Is So Difficult for Accused People to Have a Fair Chance at the Truth and Some of the Brave People Who Challenge Mistaken Assumptions.

Why It Is So Difficult for Accused People to Have a Fair Chance at the Truth and Some of the Brave People Who Challenge

Mistaken Assumptions.

January 15, 2015 As many of you know, one of the many good reasons that our office represents people who are accused of very serious crimes is that the very allegation of criminal conduct can damage your life.  In no instance does the mere allegation do greater damage than misconduct involving a child.   While we have great sympathy for every child who suffers abuse, our society has no shortage of people who will eagerly run to the aid of any person who makes such claim.  Well-meaning social workers, doctors, nurses, police,  deputies, media stories express outrage and eagerness to severely punish the culprits. As a result, it can be difficult to overcome presumptions that are made when these presumptions are not really based on sound science or medicine.  Too often these allegations are simply mustered up by one parent against another in an effort to gain an advantage in litigation regarding child custody.  On other occasions, there is genuine evidence of physical injury, but the cause of the injury is uncertain. A painful example of how patient examination of actual evidence has been replaced by one of those mistaken presumptions is something that came to be known as "shaken baby syndrome."   We have added to our website the cruel experience of what a brilliant British physician who dared to stand up to the prevailing "wisdom" of British medical and legal experts in a specialized area of head injuries to infants.  (See sidebar, Medical Kidnap, “World Renowned Neuropathologist has Career Destroyed for Disproving Shaken Baby Syndrome”)  Her career was destroyed because she had the courage to not accept the common presumptions about "SBS."  This term is of relatively recent origin and, since the 1970's became accepted by most doctors, lawyers, and eventually the public (in primarily this country and Britain) to describe how small children can received permanent injury or even be killed by severe shaking.  While infants can suffer some injury in this manner, in is exceedingly unlikely that children can be shaken to the point that internal brain hemorrhaging without cervical (neck) injury also occurring.  She did what all of us should do:  use evidence, do not presume. Because she showed that the "prevailing wisdom" was actually "prevailing prejudice,"  the British professional society was embarrassed and barred her credentialing, in the hope it would silence others. Before we ever condemn anyone for anything, we should always objectively examine the available evidence.  Most unfortunately, many professionals in medicine and law got caught up in this craze (no other word for it) to over-diagnose SBS as a cause of serious or even fatal injuries in infants, whenever they found a child with internal bleeding and no eternal bruising.  SBS was a simple and convenient explanation, even though the very term "syndrome" means that it is merely a group of symptoms which lead to a possible explanation.  Far too many innocent people were accused of horrible crimes, thousands were convicted, and thousands more had their children taken away. What the impartial studies and unbiased medical experts in the field have discovered in more recent years is, more often than not, the findings of hematoma or subdural bleeding in these children were injured by a variety of other causes that occur spontaneously or are even benign (harmless). Now, this website cannot turn any of us into experts on SBS or the many other medical matter, but we canshare with all readers the news that, just like SBS, many other commonly-accepted means of investigating crimes are not nearly as accurate as portrayed in books, movies, and television series or "reality" shows. Why should we even care what is portrayed in media, when characters try to use "forensic" (science-based) techniques to solve what may be a crime? Because that is how potential jury members and far too any judges and lawyers get their information.  Let's determine first:  did a crime occur? and only, thereafter, who did it?  If we convict the wrong person or create a crime that really was never a crime, our society has done a very bad thing,a and we are all responsible. Let's raise just one more area of interest.  Most of us have come to believe that fingerprints, polygraphs, teeth marks, hair comparison, and certain ballistics testing are reliable means of identifying evidence found associated with an unsolved crime.  Not so, says the National Academy of Sciences in it 2009 study which was re-affirmed in late 2016 by the Scientific Forensics Report of PCAST.  These respected scientific organizations, with many members intentionally chosen with law enforcement backgrounds actually looked at the history, test results, and standards for claiming to be an expert and found no real standard for reliability or validity -- which are absolutely essential qualities before permitting anyone to claim to be expert enough to be able to make identification or inferences from these instruments.  Unfortunately, the FBI, when confronted with such Reports, continues to encourage its agents to try and pass this inconsistent testimony off of the public.  As a result, innocent people are still being charged and convicted on falsehoods that rely on the unreliable:  polygraphs, fingerprints, teeth marks, and hair comparison. We need to rid our system of unreliable fake junk science as much as the cruel manipulated admissions and false confessions that continue to plague justice -- but that is a story for another day...
Samore Law • 505-244-0450 Practicing in Albuquerque and across the State of New Mexico Mailing address:  PO Box 1993, Albuquerque, NM 87103  Street address: 300 Central Ave SW, Suite 2500W, Albuquerque
Copyright 2009-2017, John F. M. Samore Disclaimer  •  Privacy Policy Information on this website is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult an attorney for individual advice pertaining to your current or past situation.
John Samore
Blog: Lawyer’s Insight on Legal Matters: - Criminal Law Concerns - "Lawyer's Insight' is a periodic blog by Mr. Samore on current legal issues that informs readers how current, legal events influence Americans' lives.  If you would like to ask Mr. Samore to address a particular concern which you may have, simply send an email to the address at left with subject "Questions for Lawyer's Insight." Click on the links below to quickly reach a particular topic, or just scroll down to read what is of interest.  Other sources of information from Mr. Samore are on the Common Questions and About Us pages of this website.
Samore Law 505-244-0450 Practicing in Albuquerque and across the state of New Mexico Mailing address:  PO Box 1993, Albuquerque, NM 87103  Street address: 300 Central Ave SW, Suite 2500W, Albuquerque
Copyright 2009-2017, John F. M. Samore Disclaimer  •  Privacy Policy Information on this website is not legal advice and does not create an attorney- client relationship. You should always consult an attorney for individual advice pertaining to your current or past situation.
If you don’t see a link to a topic of interest, check the other Lawyer’s Insight pages.

Criminal Law Concerns

Why It Is So Difficult for Accused People to Have a Fair Chance at the Truth and Some of the Brave People Who Challenge Mistaken Assumptions.

Why It Is So Difficult for Accused People to Have a Fair

Chance at the Truth and Some of the Brave People Who

Challenge Mistaken Assumptions.

January 15, 2015 As many of you know, one of the many good reasons that our office represents people who are accused of very serious crimes is that the very allegation of criminal conduct can damage your life.  In no instance does the mere allegation do greater damage than misconduct involving a child.   While we have great sympathy for every child who suffers abuse, our society has no shortage of people who will eagerly run to the aid of any person who makes such claim.  Well-meaning social workers, doctors, nurses, police,  deputies, media stories express outrage and eagerness to severely punish the culprits. As a result, it can be difficult to overcome presumptions that are made when these presumptions are not really based on sound science or medicine.  Too often these allegations are simply mustered up by one parent against another in an effort to gain an advantage in litigation regarding child custody.  On other occasions, there is genuine evidence of physical injury, but the cause of the injury is uncertain. A painful example of how patient examination of actual evidence has been replaced by one of those mistaken presumptions is something that came to be known as "shaken baby syndrome."   We have added to our website the cruel experience of what a brilliant British physician who dared to stand up to the prevailing "wisdom" of British medical and legal experts in a specialized area of head injuries to infants.  (See sidebar, Medical Kidnap, “World Renowned Neuropathologist has Career Destroyed for Disproving Shaken Baby Syndrome”)  Her career was destroyed because she had the courage to not accept the common presumptions about "SBS."  This term is of relatively recent origin and, since the 1970's became accepted by most doctors, lawyers, and eventually the public (in primarily this country and Britain) to describe how small children can received permanent injury or even be killed by severe shaking.  While infants can suffer some injury in this manner, in is exceedingly unlikely that children can be shaken to the point that internal brain hemorrhaging without cervical (neck) injury also occurring.  She did what all of us should do:  use evidence, do not presume. Because she showed that the "prevailing wisdom" was actually "prevailing prejudice,"  the British professional society was embarrassed and barred her credentialing, in the hope it would silence others. Before we ever condemn anyone for anything, we should always objectively examine the available evidence.  Most unfortunately, many professionals in medicine and law got caught up in this craze (no other word for it) to over-diagnose SBS as a cause of serious or even fatal injuries in infants, whenever they found a child with internal bleeding and no eternal bruising.  SBS was a simple and convenient explanation, even though the very term "syndrome" means that it is merely a group of symptoms which lead to a possible explanation.  Far too many innocent people were accused of horrible crimes, thousands were convicted, and thousands more had their children taken away. What the impartial studies and unbiased medical experts in the field have discovered in more recent years is, more often than not, the findings of hematoma or subdural bleeding in these children were injured by a variety of other causes that occur spontaneously or are even benign (harmless). Now, this website cannot turn any of us into experts on SBS or the many other medical matter, but we canshare with all readers the news that, just like SBS, many other commonly-accepted means of investigating crimes are not nearly as accurate as portrayed in books, movies, and television series or "reality" shows. Why should we even care what is portrayed in media, when characters try to use "forensic" (science-based) techniques to solve what may be a crime? Because that is how potential jury members and far too any judges and lawyers get their information.  Let's determine first:  did a crime occur? and only, thereafter, who did it?  If we convict the wrong person or create a crime that really was never a crime, our society has done a very bad thing,a and we are all responsible. Let's raise just one more area of interest.  Most of us have come to believe that fingerprints, polygraphs, teeth marks, hair comparison, and certain ballistics testing are reliable means of identifying evidence found associated with an unsolved crime.  Not so, says the National Academy of Sciences in it 2009 study which was re-affirmed in late 2016 by the Scientific Forensics Report of PCAST.  These respected scientific organizations, with many members intentionally chosen with law enforcement backgrounds actually looked at the history, test results, and standards for claiming to be an expert and found no real standard for reliability or validity -- which are absolutely essential qualities before permitting anyone to claim to be expert enough to be able to make identification or inferences from these instruments.  Unfortunately, the FBI, when confronted with such Reports, continues to encourage its agents to try and pass this inconsistent testimony off of the public.  As a result, innocent people are still being charged and convicted on falsehoods that rely on the unreliable:  polygraphs, fingerprints, teeth marks, and hair comparison. We need to rid our system of unreliable fake junk science as much as the cruel manipulated admissions and false confessions that continue to plague justice -- but that is a story for another day...
John Samore
Samore Law  Your personal attorney.  office@samorelaw.com