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Hon named to state 'bite mark' panel
LIVINGSTON -- Polk County Criminal District Attorney William Lee Hon has been selected to serve as a member of the Texas Forensic Science Commission Bite Mark Comparison Review Team. The review team is comprised of two Texas prosecutors, two criminal defense attorneys and four forensic odontologists and was established following a report adopted by the Forensic Science Committee in August, 2016. The committee's report indicated there is no scientific basis for stating that a particular patterned injury can be associated to the makeup of an individual's teeth. It also found there is no scientific basis for assigning probability or statistical weight to an association, regardless of whether such a probability or weight is expressed numerically. Though such claims were once thought to be acceptable in criminal trials and admitted into evidence, it is now clear that they lack sufficient supporting data. As part of its 2016 findings, the commission recommended a case review including a multidisciplinary team of forensic odontologists and attorneys to review Texas criminal convictions potentially impacted by bite mark comparison evidence. In a public meeting held on Friday, Jan. 2, at the Stephen F. Austin Building in Austin, the review team established the initial screening criteria for case review and began a preliminary review of 34 felony convictions from across the state where forensic bite mark comparison testimony was admitted. The team is scheduled to reconvene in March. "This is a very interesting topic and it was a privilege to be asked participate. I'm honored to represent the perspective of Texas prosecutors in this very important effort," Hon stated.