Scientific evidence has become critical to the proper handling of many criminal cases. Attorneys need to be able to deal with specialized issues which, depending on the type of case, may range from DNA to computer software, and from accident reconstruction to blood testing. A person facing charges involving scientific evidence should make sure that the lawyer has knowledge, skill, and experience to handle such matters.
Mr. Garland has a passion for the science and an interest in resourcing experts in the disciplines necessary to present a defense. The key to defending many prosecutions is to show that the police assumption about evidence is either unwarranted under current scientific understanding or to show that there has been a misapplication of proper scientific principles. In other cases, the defense uses scientific evidence to rebut a prosecution claim.
Recent advances in “touch DNA” demonstrate just how fast the pace of change can be. Only a few years ago, “touch DNA” from multiple contributors presented an insurmountable hurdle to expert testimony. Not any more. Especially in federal court, the government routinely uses touch DNA to establish a probability of connection between the accused and a given object. That object could be a gun or some other item associated with the investigation. It is important to note, however, that the touch DNA opinion is really just a probability estimate. The significance of such a probability estimate is dependent upon how many alleles associated with the accused’s DNA are found to be present in the sample. Quite often, one or more alleles are not found. It is the job of the defense to show that the touch DNA is not reliable because of contamination, or that the conclusions are unwarranted because of an insufficient number of alleles.
Mr. Garland has a bachelor degree in chemistry from the University of Florida, which provides an educational background for the mathematics, statistics, physics, and chemistry which underpin all scientific inquiry.
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