CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Giannelli on Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis

Paul C. Giannelli (Case Western Reserve University - School of Law) has posted Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis: A Retrospective (Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 47, p. 306, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

For over thirty years, FBI experts testified about comparative bullet lead analysis (CBLA), a technique that was first used in the investigation into President Kennedy’s assassination. CBLA compares trace chemicals found in bullets at crime scenes with ammunition found in the possession of a suspect. This technique was used by the FBI when firearms (“ballistics”) identification could not be employed – for example, if the weapon was not recovered or the bullet was too mutilated to compare striations. Although the FBI eventually ceased using CBLA, the Bureau’s conduct in first employing the technique and then defending it after it was challenged provides an invaluable insight into how forensic science sometimes works.

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