The Innocence Project

Hosted byIan Punnett

The Innocence Project

About the show

In 2012, the Innocence Project began searching for prisoners convicted by junk science and three men, each convicted of capital murder, became M. Chris Fabricant's clients. Fabricant joined host Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss the fights to overturn their wrongful convictions and to end the use of the junk science that destroyed their lives. Fabricant said his proudest professional achievement is the exonerations of the three people he wrote about in his book Junk Science: Keith Harward, Steve Chaney, and Eddie Lee Howard. "Junk science plays a role in over half of all known wrongful convictions... it's astonishing," he revealed.

Fabricant identified Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West as "two of the most notorious charlatans in the annals of junk science... responsible for hundreds of years of incarcerations." Dr. West specializes in the debunked field of forensic odontology or bite mark analysis. According to Fabricant, all of the problems associated with bite mark evidence are true of many other forensic techniques still admissible in courts today. Another junk science field that has led to wrongful convictions is microscopic hair comparison evidence. DNA has been used to overturn cases based on hair comparison as "DNA allows scientific certainty of facts," Fabricant explained.

The fundamental difference between DNA and all the other forensic techniques is that DNA analysis was developed in a rigorous scientific environment and has applications beyond the criminal just system, while other so-called forensic sciences were developed by law enforcement for use exclusively in the criminal justice system. DNA has shown that so many of these once trusted forensic techniques, such as bite mark and hair analysis, are subjective and fallible. The problem, says Fabricant, is some junk science makes "good intuitive sense" even if it has no basis in science. "Much of my job is trying to combat the continued introduction of junk science in our justice system," he noted.

New JFK Bombshell

In the first hour, paranormal investigator Greg Lawson commented on a new revelation in the JFK assassination case that challenges the 'magic bullet' theory. According to recent news articles, a former Secret Service agent claims that he found a nearly pristine bullet inside JFK's limousine and placed it on the president's hospital stretcher. The bullet was found later on Texas Governor John Connally's stretcher and suggests it may have rolled from JFK's stretcher. Lawson called the new claim "really unusual," and said if he were investigating this case, he would go straight to the witness and scrutinize his memories in light of forensic psychology. "The whole problem with this thing is chain of custody [of the bullet]," Lawson added.

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