How a Mississippi dentist may be sending innocent people to jail

But even in an already imprecise field, Dr. Michael West has taken forensic odontology to bizarre, megalomaniacal depths. West claims to have invented a system he modestly calls “The West Phenomenon. n it, he dons a pair of yellow goggles and with the aid of a blue laser, he says he can identify bite marks, scratches, and other marks on a corpse that no one else can see-not even other forensics experts.

Conveniently, he claims his unique method can’t be photographed or reproduced, which he says makes his opinions unimpeachable by other experts.

[…]

West has received his share of media scrutiny, including expos?s in Newsweek and on 60 Minutes. A 1994 article in the National Law Journal reported that when one defense attorney asked West on the stand about his rate of error, he replied that it’s “something less than my savior, Jesus Christ.”

[…]

After the media expos?s and persistent work of Holdridge, West resigned from two professional organizations, and was suspended for a year from another. … Nevertheless, the court found, Dr. West still possessed the “knowledge, skill, experience, training and education necessary to qualify as an expert in forensic odontology.”

Full Story: Reason.

2 Comments

  1. Expanded version of the above WSJ story: http://reason.com/news/show/122458.html

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