The Forensic Deceiver
If it was just a lack of knowledge, then our task would be so much easier. If it was merely a failure to live up to a standard of care, then the fix would be straightforward. However, it’s so much worse than that. What we actually have is wide-scale fraud. A deception which is firmly entrenched within forensic science.
The principle forensic deceiver doesn’t even work in a lab. The greatest con artist of them all is….you.
Where it Happens
Who are you? You’re just like everyone else. You’re a law-abiding citizen that works hard to earn a living. You probably have high moral standards and a tremendous respect for authority. You have only the best of intentions. By almost all measures you’re good.
Then you get called for jury duty. You embrace this civic responsibility. And this is where it happens. Things change once you’re picked to hear a criminal case.
Here, in this place, faced with this task, you become unmindfully selective. You adopt an unearned imbalance in weighing what’s placed before you. Facts that should resonate now fail to even register. You hear everything, but only intermittently listen.
You’re serving what was until now an almost indiscernible need. A need to believe that we live in a world that’s just. It’s a constant craving that can’t ever really be satisfied. It turns a supposition into a hypothesis. It lives just beneath consciousness.
“People get what’s coming to them.”
Being put in the position to decide guilt or innocence triggers this need like few other things could. Somewhere deep inside, you know. The accused must deserve to be here. Without realization, your judgment becomes driven by this hypothesis of the world.
The Foundation of Their Case
The moment you’re told the government’s case rests upon the results of a forensic test you feel something. It’s almost comfort. So close to comfort that any result, which merely appears to decide the accused’s fate, is good enough for you. Regardless, of what the test actually tells you. Regardless, of its quality. Regardless, of whether the results are worthy of your trust.
You don’t even need to hear the results. You already know them. You wouldn’t be here if he was innocent. Your world has to be this predictable.
Conforming to Your Convictions
Now, you’re primed. The results will conform to – your conviction. You will find a way to fit them in what you must believe. Your belief that the person on trial deserves to be here. He deserves to be found guilty. The results will conform to – his conviction.
You’ll accept whatever that test results say, as long as it’s guilty. As long as, the results tell you everything you believed about the world was correct. That’s the only reality you can comprehend. It’s the only way you can get out of bed in the morning.
This process will overwrite any directions, rules or edicts given by the person wearing the black robe. No matter how loudly they’re delivered.
Those types of safeguards have little value in what John Adams called “[t]e Labyrinth of human nature.”
This is our fraud. Our forensic deception.
Is this you? Most importantly, will you, let this be you?
Lawrence Koplow is an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. His practice focuses on the defense of DUI and Vehicular Crimes. He is also a published author concerning these areas of the law and a proud graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.