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Coronavirus Impact and Assurance: Yes! We are still open for business!

As you are all aware, we are currently facing unique challenges due to the Coronavirus. While this is a serious crisis, it is important to keep it in perspective, and not allow it to prevent us from going about our business. We want to assure all of our clients that this office is prepared to serve your needs, regardless of what happens and how the virus affects Minnesota. In an effort to keep the office safe, we have stepped up prevention and sanitation measures in hopes to prevent disease transmission.

Because we are a paperless office, our entire staff is prepared to work from home if necessary. No matter what happens, we will continue to provide our clients with the highest quality legal services. For any clients who are not comfortable leaving their homes, we can handle any appointments remotely via phone, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom , and can transfer any documents to you electronically or by mail, if that is your preference.

Please rest assured, we will continue to take care of your legal needs in this challenging time, and your safety is our highest priority.

Please see our blog for more info on pandemic response.

Experts question the value of forensic evidence

| Oct 30, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Minnesota residents who watch shows like ‘CSI” on television may be surprised to learn that questions have been raised about the validity of forensic evidence and the qualifications of the experts who provide it. After studying the way hairs, fingerprints and fibers are gathered and processed, a panel of scientists, academics and legal experts found problems with virtually every technique and concluded that the interpretation of forensic evidence is often based on subjective factors rather than science. Their findings were published in 2009 by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The NAS report was especially critical of blood pattern analysis. This is a technique forensic experts use to determine the sequence of events at a crime scene based on blood drips, smears and splatter. The NAS experts found little in the way of solid science to back up BPA and discovered that its practitioners often lacked accreditation and proper training. Findings such as these are particularly worrying for groups advocating for criminal justice reform because juries tend to find this kind of evidence extremely convincing.

Other experts have studied the same data and reached similar conclusions. The scientific value of forensic evidence was questioned in a 2016 report released by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and BPA was branded ‘scientifically unsupportable” by the Texas Forensic Science Commission in 2018.

Attorneys with experience in criminal cases may rely on experts of their own to diminish the impact of forensic evidence. Former forensic scientists might cast doubt on the qualifications and experience of prosecution experts, and academics may inform juries about studies that question the scientific rigor of crime scene investigations. Attorneys might also cite these scientific uncertainties during plea negotiations to encourage prosecutors to reduce the charges against their clients in order to avoid the risks of arguing before a jury.