Baltimore Finds Cases With Disputed Gun Residue


Baltimore prosecutors have found a half dozen convictions in cases that may have involved the controversial identification of gunshot residue evidence, says the Baltimore Sun. The review of shooting and weapons cases of the past five years came after a judge decided last month to exclude a two-element particle of gunshot residue evidence from a trial. He said a particle containing three elements — lead, barium, and antimony — is required to meet the scientific community’s threshold for establishing that a substance is gunshot residue.

Prosecutors insist that no one has been wrongly convicted. defense attorneys say that enough questions have been raised to demand further review. A prosecutors’ spokesperson said gunshot evidence is used sparingly in the 10,000 felony cases prosecutors handle each year — and is never presented to a jury without corroborating evidence. Defense attorneys said the review points to the ripple effect of evidence that some view as flawed. Of about 100 gunshot residue tests that were deemed positive based on two-element particles, about 70 became part of criminal cases — though often the suspected residue was collected from a person who ended up as a witness.


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