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A recent analysis published in the Criminal Justice Ethics academic journal suggests when technicians perform forensic analysis of blood and other evidence for cases such as drunk driving, the results can be influenced by built-in financial incentives to produce a conviction. Syracuse Univ. Prof. Roger Koppl joined Meghan Sacks from Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. argue that even if false conviction rates are very low, a 3 percent error rate could put 33,000 innocent individuals behind bars every year. 
 
The primary problem, according to the paper, is that fourteen states reward crime labs with a bonus for each conviction they generate. North Carolina pays a $600 bounty "upon conviction" to the law enforcement agency whose lab "tested for the presence of alcohol." These incentives do not necessarily encourage scientists to lie, rather they tend to create an observation bias when measuring, for example, a blood specimen for its blood alcohol content. 
 
When there is a reward for a guilty result, a lab technician will not double-check test results that are in the guilty range, though he would be more likely to double-check results that show innocence. The same effects do not work in favor of the defense, which usually depends solely on the forensic report produced by the prosecution.
 
 
 
Source: theNewspaper.com
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