Published on October 2, 2009 | by LawNews
Professor Eric M. Freedman in Star-Telegram
Eric M. Freedman, Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law, was quoted in the following article.
Questions raised about the ‘science’ of autopsies
By YAMIL BERARD
Sep. 30, 2009
To avoid bias, most medical examiner offices have checks in place. Tarrant is among those that hire death investigators to gather information from crime scenes so they don’t have to rely on law enforcement. However, Peerwani said he has to rely on police reports and photographs for autopsies he is called to do outside the four counties he serves as medical examiner.
A number of cases over the years point to practices in which critics say a boundary between the scientist and law enforcement was crossed.
Eric M. Freedman, a professor at New York’s Hofstra Law School who specializes in criminal procedure and strategy, is among those who say that medical examiner opinions are sometimes twisted and turned to fit the theories of prosecutors and law enforcement. “The medical examiner considers it his job to support whatever series of theories the prosecutors decide to dream up rather than focus on the objective truth,” he said.
“That’s what I see happening,” said Richard Ellis, an attorney for a Sulphur Springs man on Death Row. “If you start off with a goal in mind, it’s kind of easy to get through only looking at signs that point to that preconceived notion to how death occurred.”