Bias in forensic testimony in court proceedings is more common than many believe (or would like to believe). The unfortunate reality is that, even in Illinois towns like Edwardsville, Belleville, Troy, Marine, and Hamel where Constitutional protections guarantee a free trial, the often-subtle bias in the courtroom can create an unfair environment for defendants accused of crimes.
Here, we’ll explore the reality of bias in forensic testimony and how defendants in criminal proceedings can protect their rights to a fair trial.
A recent report exposes forensic testimony racial bias
A recent bombshell paper on racial bias has enormous implications for criminal defense in Illinois. The paper, produced by the Forensic Justice Project and titled “Perpetuating the Presumption of Guilt: The Role of Implicit Racial Bias in Forensic Testimony,” found that racial bias has a potentially enormous impact on the forensic testimony delivered in court.
In particular, the paper found that government witnesses used by prosecution teams are often culpable of “tainting their supposedly scientific analyses of firearms, toolmark impressions and bloodstains” when a defendant is a person of color. The bias is attributed, often, to the government witness being made aware of the suspect’s attributes like their race before examining the evidence, which produces a “results-driven opinion” that may not be based entirely on the content of the evidence but rather on subtle biases of the “expert.”
How Illinois defendants can protect themselves from forensic testimony bias
Unfortunately, the state is often allowed to introduce biased experts whose underlying biases go unchallenged. The burden is on Illinois defendants and their legal teams to mount appropriate challenges when they are confronted with such a prejudiced witness.
Protecting your rights to fair criminal proceedings is essential if you are going to get true justice in an Illinois court. That includes standing up against biased testimony of all forms such as those that are racially motivated.