Education & Training

Capital Litigation Initiative: Crime Scene to Courtroom Forensics Training

Webinar 23 – Bitemark Evidence Essentials: Current Research Findings

Bitemark Evidence Essentials: Current Research Findings
August 17, 2023
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT
Now available on demand

Bitemark Evidence Essentials: Current Research Findings covers the historical use and emerging concerns surrounding bitemark evidence, including the findings of recent reports critically evaluating the foundation of the bitemark evidence discipline. By contrasting bitemark evidence with other scientifically validated analysis methods, this webinar will present numerous research study considerations including how the flexible nature of skin, bite discrepancies, time factors, and wound healing affect the reliability of preserving and evaluating bite mark evidence. The presentation will cover case studies involving exonerations based on bitemark evidence as well as legal considerations attorneys should be aware of when encountering cases that include bitemark evidence.

Bitemark evidence has been presented in courts of law as early as the Salem witch trials. Precedent setting cases were tried in the United States in the 1970’s and the roller coaster ride began. High profile cases followed, such as Theodore Robert BUNDY v. FLORIDA, and there was no looking back. Bitemark evidence was securely entrenched in courtrooms across the U.S. The precedent setting cases were misleading, and the Bundy evidence was not infallible, but these cases were enough to open the door. A door that has been difficult to close despite numerous exonerations invalidating bitemark evidence and scientific research showing the deficiencies of this type of analysis.

This presentation will review this flawed history and debunk the two basic premises of bitemark analysis that: 1) the human dentition is unique, and 2) this uniqueness reliably transfers to human skin. Despite the problems with this form of pattern analysis it is still accepted in most jurisdictions within the U.S. Opposition to the use of this evidence has been strong but attempts to maintain the status quo is also vocal. Justice and common sense should prevail, but reform is a slow process. Education is the key to change. The goal in sharing this information with you is to prevent another innocent person becoming another falsely imprisoned statistic based on unreliable evidence.

Dr. Raymond Miller, DDS, FAAFS, is a general dentist, Clinical Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine (UBSDM) and a forensic dental consultant to the Medical Examiner of Erie County, NY. Primarily involved in victim identification, Dr. Miller and his team at the UBSDM have authored numerous papers in forensic odontology. This research has centered on victim ID and human bitemarks (BM).

Dr. Miller has deployed with the federal government’s Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team identifying the victims of 9/11 (2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005), and the Flight of 3407 (2009) in Clarence, NY. He has testified in court and provided expert witness testimony in ID, BM and malpractice cases. He has also lectured extensively on these topics both locally, nationally, and internationally.

He is a member of the American and NY State Dental Associations and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has served in leadership roles in these organizations. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the NY Air National Guard in 2018 after twenty-nine years and deployed to Iraq in 2008.

Course materials:

This webinar is designed for both prosecutors and defense attorneys. Attendees who complete this webinar will be eligible for Continuing Legal Education credits. The Stetson Office of Professional Education will work with each individual participant for reporting specifics. CLE applications will be made to Florida and other states per individual requests. Please email for further information and state specific requests.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-CP-BX-K006 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.