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Valena Beety and Jennifer Oliva on Bitemark Evidence

Season 1, Ep. 464

In this episode, Valena Beety (@valenabeetv), Professor of Law at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and Jennifer Oliva (@jenndoliva), Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law, discuss their new article, "Regulating Bite Mark Evidence: Lesbian Vampires and Other Myths of Forensic Odontology," forthcoming in the Washington Law Review. Professors Beety and Oliva begin the discussion explaining the serious flaws of junk sciences such as bite mark evidence. They then discuss a trial in which a lesbian couple were convicted of murder based upon flawed bite mark evidence propounded by a dentist who described, during trial, his improper examination of the murder victim, while explaining bite mark evidence as being half art and half science. The pair also explain how such use of junk science runs afoul of established evidentiary standards under Daubert, and why junk science such as bite mark evidence has been allowed to proliferate in criminal cases rather than in the civil sphere. Professors Beety and Oliva also highlight the inequities that arise in the use of bite mark evidence, especially among LGBTQ defendants. They then offer novel extrajudicial solutions in an effort to prevent the use of such faulty "science" in future. The paper is currently available on SSRN.


This episode was hosted by Maybell Romero, Assistant Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University College of Law. Romero is on Twitter at @maybellromero.

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