November 04, 2009

sniffed into jail by a dog

But can a dog missniff? The Innocence Project of Texas calls scent lineups "junk science":

HOUSTON — A dog’s sniff helped put Curvis Bickham in jail for eight months. Now that the case against him has been dropped, he wants to tell the world that the investigative technique that justified his arrest smells to high heaven. [...] Dogs’ noses have long proved useful to track people, and the police rely on them to detect drugs and explosives, and to find the bodies of victims of crime and disaster. A 2004 report by the F.B.I. states that use of scent dogs, properly conducted, “has become a proven tool that can establish a connection to the crime.” Scent lineups, however, are different. Critics say that the possibilities of cross-contamination of scent are great, and that the procedures are rarely well controlled.
More here.

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