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How Reliable Is Ballistic Evidence In A New Jersey Trial?


If you’ve been accused of a crime involving the discharge of a firearm in New Jersey, you’ll probably face ballistic evidence in court. But how reliable is this evidence? Will it prove your guilt? Or is it possible to poke holes in this evidence and destroy its credibility? This has become a somewhat controversial subject in the legal world, and many people are starting to question whether ballistic evidence is as infallible as it’s cracked up to be.

Ballistic Evidence Links Criminal to Shooting in Newark 

On April 13th, it was reported that a defendant had been charged with firearms offenses. He was found with a 9 mm handgun equipped with an illegal conversion kit. This kit made the handgun a machine gun in the eyes of the law, as it provided full-auto functionality. An extended, 30-round magazine was also found in his possession.

Ballistics analysis of the handgun then linked it to a shooting that had occurred 5 days prior at the Oscar Miles Housing Complex. In fact, the analysis was able to determine that the gun (and its owner) had apparently fired 28 rounds that day. Three victims were shot, and one was placed in intensive care due to wounds received. The defendant now faces up to 10 years in prison for possession of a machine gun and a further 10 years for possession of an unregistered firearm. This shows how critical ballistic evidence can be in modern trials.

How Reliable Is Ballistics Evidence? 

At first glance, the field of ballistics analysis seems almost completely accurate. Error rates of about 1% are widely-reported, ensuring that everyone simply accepts this evidence at face value. But recently, experts have begun to question whether these error rates are actually telling the whole story. Scientific American calls it a field mostly based on “smoke and mirrors.” The article points out that few independent studies have verified the accuracy of the methods and strategies used by ballistics analysts.

In 2009, a National Research Council argued that the field “lacked a precisely defined process.” In other words, it lacks a very important factor called the Scientific Method. Other studies have used terms like “circular logic,” and the truth is that barely any studies have verified the field. The one study that has looked into this subject in any depth is the Ames II study. In this study, researchers sent the same bullets back to the same examiner without them knowing. The examiner frequently made different conclusions about the same bullets without realizing it. In fact, they only reached the same conclusion about the bullets about 33% of the time.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in New Jersey? 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney, look no further than Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have assisted numerous injured plaintiffs in the New Jersey area. We know that when you’re facing years in prison, it’s absolutely critical to have a solid defense strategy. With our help, you can destroy the viability of evidence laid against you – whether that evidence takes the form of ballistics, DNA, testimony, or something else entirely. Book your consultation today to get started.




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Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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