Forensic Science: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Forensic Science: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Forensic science used in criminal trials can be surprisingly unscientific. Maybe a new television procedural could help change the public perception.

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20 Responses

  1. dsproductions19 says:

    Another problem with crime labs being too close to the prosecution is that, in at least some smaller city departments, the lab tech is also a normal investigator (meaning they are a police officer who takes cases), simply because they are the only one qualified to do any of the lab work. Not only do individuals in that scenario do 2 jobs (increasing stress and chance of error), but they also may have to do analysis of evidence for their own cases (making accidental bias much more likely, especially if they have less experience with that type of work).

  2. matrixphijr says:

    Fingerprint analysis is not objective. either. Nothing done by hand is.
    These shows like CSI make people think you can scan a fingerprint or bitemark into a computer and get an objective reading and comparison. In reality, very few states/counties even have the technology to incorporate a computer into the process for even a small part of it. In the vast majority of offices and labs where analysis is done, a lone examiner does the analysis and comparison by hand and is then “checked” (which is sometimes only a rubber stamp) by an overseer. It is completely subjective and unscientific.

  3. Jansports B says:

    Monkey law and Monkey order, really? With a bunch of APES and exactly zero monkeys? Go back to school

  4. StYxXx says:

    The science is not all bullshit. The problem is how it is used. You can for example use bite marks to rule out certain suspects (depends on the case ofc) – just the opposite way as it is done sometimes. It becomes a problem once you misuse it. And of course human error is always a factor. A hair of someone doesn’t mean the person is the killer, just that he might have been there or that in some other way the hair got there. The conclusion is the problem here. Also even fingerprints and DNA isn’t always reliable, as said. Just an example: There was a case in Germany where cotton sticks got contaminated with DNA fragments during production. Now what happend? In some cases it could lead to false matches, since every stick had the same fragments and the technology used couldn’t detect what part of the tested DNA was the sample from the crime scene or the contamination. As with fingerprints you only check a few values, not the whole DNA. But: even if the sample contains mutliple DNA fragments you could use if to rule out a certain suspect: if his DNA doesn’t match it can mean, it’s not his blood. But if it matches it could be a false positive due to contamination. Oh and there was a discussion in the US about certain software programs whose inventors said it wasn’t reliable to convict someone (and other countries didn’t use). Guess what is done with it… Also those polygraph things (also not used in most countries because it’s not science).
    Wouldn’t be such a problem if the US didn’t execute their people based on that or if only judges with certain knowledge and experience instead of a layman jury were in charge.

  5. Lastkoss says:

    I am surprised that for this episode John didn’t have Adam from Ruins everything as a guest for the main story.

  6. Anna Happen says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE JOHN MAKE THIS A REAL SHOW! Make Crime Scene Idiot…. It would be the best procedural in a decade!

  7. M Plautz says:

    This is a far more accessible format for what I’ve spent countless hours researching in grad school. Sharing this like gospel…

  8. TheEpic22 says:

    It’s funny because the police chief in that sketch actually played a dirty cop on tv.

  9. Akshay Shukla says:

    You’re a legend, John 🙂

  10. K4Z4Y says:

    I would totally watch that show.

  11. Connor Hagan says:

    Penn and Teller did all this like 7 years ago back in 2010 in the Criminal Justice episode of Bullshit!

  12. CasaiAgicap says:

    Fuck the Paw-lice comin’ straight from the Ruff-erground
    A young pupper got it bad cuz I’m Homeward Bound.

  13. Desperadox23 says:

    Again J.O. brings up an important issue here.Well done.

  14. aurelius7778 says:

    With a cast like that for CSI. I would watch it. Because I tell you, I can’t stand ANY of the current CSI’s out, especially CSI: Miami!!

  15. Joseph Greene says:

    As a musician I’m a little disappointed John Oliver doesn’t know what a trill is.

  16. kay Dizzle says:

    What bothers me the most isn’t that it happens, but that people are so okay with it happening that we don’t do anything about it because we think it can’t happen to us.

  17. *_Fahrenheight_* says:

    The end skit was legendary. I’d watch a show about this oh my god.

  18. Ofir Carmel says:

    he should invite the olsen twins to sit with him as proof

  19. JarofBeesdotnet says:

    Dear HBO, please make Crime Scene Idiot happen. Or tell Netflix to make it happen or something.

  20. Eddy Newbauer says:

    Does John Oliver know that exonerated cases are convictions that are overturned at a later date? Is his point that everyone is abusing baseless science to each’s own benefit? The rest of this clip focuses on prosecutions abuses with addressing the wealthy criminals that pay for fraudulent, expert testimony to sway jurors away from convictions. More examples of the rampant #Scientism infecting the World’s core. Fight that battle, @JohnOliver

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