Friday, December 7, 2012

The Claim Against Arson Forensics

Today we turn the site over to our law student contributor, Colin Maguire, Publicity Editor, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review.  Contact him at

The legal system is far from perfect. Sometimes, the system can even create gross injustices. That was the case with David Gavitt – a man who served over two decades in prison after he was wrongly convicted of killing his wife and young children. At the time of his conviction, the scientific consensus was that someone set a fire that engulfed David's house, injured him, and killed his family. With no other suspects, a jury convicted David of setting the fatal fire. Years later, it was revealed that the "science" used to convict David was junk science...and David was not the only person affect as a result of bad arson science.

The Thomas M. Cooley Law Review's Publicity Editor, Colin W. Maguire, visited Imran Syed, Staff Attorney at the University of Michigan Law School’s Innocence Clinic. Mr. Syed started working on David’s case as a Law Student and was there to accompany David out of prison after he was exonerated.

In this in-depth interview, Maguire and Syed explore the details of this injustice. The interview also looks at remedies that Attorneys and Lawmakers should consider when dealing with a clear case of bad science leading to bad convictions. You can see the original posting of this piece from the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review's Online Edition here:

Anyone who may have occasion to prosecute or defend a person charged with arson, homicide through shaken-baby syndrome, or any other criminal case heavily involving science should absolutely read this.

Check out Colin Maguire's previous post on Trayvon Martin and the stand your ground law - Stand Your Ground Law:  Charging or Blocking?

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