Part Two of Vanity Fair Episode About Imposter Anna Delvey
DECEMBER 7/2019 – Here’s another segment of Vanity Fair magazine’s online series about cons and con artists.
This is part two of an episode about Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, a young woman who pretended to be very rich, while racking up huge, unpaid bills.
For a brief time, Sorokin/Delvey fooled the upper crust of Manhattan into thinking she was one of them.
I was interviewed for the series because I wrote a textbook called The Big Con about scams and scam artists.
Click here to watch part two of the Anna Delvey episode.
A Biting Critique of Bad Forensic Science
NOVEMBER 26/2019 – Dana Delger is an expert on the misuse of bite-mark evidence and other junk science in court.
She was recently profiled in an article on the Columbia Law School website.
“As a strategic litigator for the Innocence Project, she fights the use of bite-mark evidence in criminal cases, arguing that despite its use in trials since the 1950s, it is scientifically invalid,” states the profile.
Ron Moffatt—whose story forms the basis of my book, The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto—is well-aware of this fact.
In 1956, fourteen-year-old Ron was wrongly convicted of killing seven-year-old Wayne Mallette in Toronto, thanks to a coerced confession and bite-mark “evidence”. It was claimed that bite marks on Wayne’s body matched Ron’s teeth.
After the real killer, predator Peter Woodcock was captured, Ron was given a new trial in May 1957. On the stand, Woodcock took responsibility for little Wayne’s murder, the original bite mark evidence was tossed out and Ron was acquitted.
None of this should have come as a surprise: “In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences found that no scientific studies have shown that a bite mark can be positively matched to a single person’s teeth. In 2013, an Associated Press investigation identified 24 men who had been exonerated since 2000 through DNA analysis after being convicted based on bite-mark evidence,” states the profile of Delger.
The profile goes on to mention a September 2016 report, made by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
“Bite-mark analysis does not meet the scientific standards for foundational validity and is far from meeting such standard. To the contrary, available scientific evidence strongly suggests that examiners cannot consistently agree on whether an injury is a human bite-mark and cannot identify the source of a bite-mark with reasonable accuracy,” reads the report, which I also cited in The Boy on the Bicycle.
Unfortunately, courts are still willing to accept bite-mark evidence.
“The conflict, Delger says, is between science and precedent—and precedent often wins. ‘Common law functions on this notion of finality: a court makes a decision, and we all just proceed from that decision,’ she says. ‘That’s not how science works. Science changes all the time. So, there’s this real mismatch.’,” states the Columbia Law School profile.
Click here to read the article about Dana Delger’s battle against bite-mark evidence.
Interview With The Dorset Book Detective Blog
NOVEMBER 24/2019 – I was interviewed recently about true crime writing by The Dorset Book Detective, a fine blog that offers commentary about books, authors and literary topics.
Here’s a quote from our interview: “I like the crime genre because it’s extremely broad: you can discuss history, social issues, politics, personalities, cultural events and psychology all in one book.”
During the interview, I also offer a few observations about master true crime writers such as Truman Capote (author of In Cold Blood) and how I became a crime writer myself (largely, a combination of good fortune, opportunity and accident).
Click here for the blog.
Click here for the interview.