Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted qualified immunity to Lowell Thomas Johnson and Raymond Rawson, the two bite mark specialists whose testimony helped convict Robert Lee Stinson of raping and murdering an elderly Wisconsin woman in 1984. Stinson spent 23 years in prison before DNA testing exonerated him in 2009. Further testing implicated a man named Moses Price, who then confessed to the crime.
The only real evidence against Stinson was the testimony of Johnson and Rawson, who claimed they could match bite marks on the victim’s body to Stinson, to the exclusion of everyone else. Johnson claimed that the marks on the woman “had to have been made by teeth identical in all of these characteristics” to Stinson’s. Rawson claimed the marks matched Stinson’s teeth “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.”