An Anoka County, Mn., judge has thrown out gunshot residue evidence police say helped solve the case of the killings of two men. The St. Paul Pioneer press says the ruling that highlights growing skepticism across the country about such evidence. The decision by District Judge Sharon Hall in the case of a pool hall shooting may be the first of its kind in the nation. Gunshot residue – long-purported by police and prosecutors to link suspects with shootings – lacks scientific backing and has no place in a courtroom, Hall wrote.
Police and prosecutors around the world continue to rely on gunshot residue evidence, and officials with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and one of its contracted labs stand by their methods. The Minnesota ruling is a first, said Jack King of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. “I have found no other case, state or federal, where gunshot residue was found to be not generally accepted in the relevant scientific community.”