The Wisconsin State Journal’s Protection of the Use of Pseudo-Science in Traffic Accident Cases
One of the most disturbing aspects involved in prosecutions for favors in traffic accident cases is the cynical manipulation of data. It must be remembered that being a traffic accident reconstruction analyst can be a lucrative profession, especially for those willing to produce the results that benefit those who have retained them. However, conversely, it is also true that the very fact of being charged criminally on these cases almost always means to those of ordinary means that financial hardship becomes a fact. Often, the financial hardship in itself can cause defendants who believe themselves innocent to feel they have no choice but to plead out.
Given that this science can send people to prison, one would think that there would be a concern to expose the use of a pseudo- science that can convict. The Wisconsin State Journal has decided otherwise. The beneficiary of their decision is foremost the Dane County District Attorney’s office.
Raisbeck will be addressed in detail in the next section. For present purposes, the following two tables utilize data from the Dane County DA’s Office’s experts in the Raisbeck case alone. It is important to realize that each expert was purportedly claiming that his data was accurate to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.
|Expert||Date of analysis||Speed estimate||Application of brakes||Distance of longest tire mark||Total Distance traveled after vehicle left roadway||Distance traveled through brush||Distance that vehicle rolled over|
|Dep. Gnacinski (I)||Fall 2001||88.87 mph||Brakes never applied||82 ft.||318 ft.||94 ft.||224 ft.|
|Robert Krenz||Feb. 2002||73-81 mph||Substantial braking||82-83 ft.||335 ft.||138 ft.||197 ft.|
|Dep. Gnacinski (II)||Aug. 2002||77 mph||Brakes locked||132 ft.||268 ft.||94 ft.||174 ft.|
|Dennis Skogen||Jan. 2005||70-76 mph||Substantial braking||62 ft.||346 ft.||236 ft.||110 ft.|
|Expert||Tire mark distance furthest left||Tire mark distance second furthest left||Tire mark distance third furthest left||Tire mark distance furthest right||Rate of deceler-ation on roadway||Rate of deceler-ation through brush||Rate of deceler-ation through roll-over|
|Dep. Gnacinski (I)||30 ft.||49 ft.||48 ft.||82 ft.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Robert Krenz||22-23 ft.||48 ft.||49 ft.||82-83 ft.||.5-.6 g||.35-.45 g||.56 g|
|Dep. Gnacinski (II)||?||?||?||132 ft.||.5-.71 g||.3 g||.5 g ?|
|Dennis Skogen||36 ft.||16 ft.||62 ft.||41 ft.||.55-.6 g||.4-.5 g||.45-.5 g|
A mere review of the above tables shows that the asserted facts cannot possibly be facts. At best, all they can be are guesses, some more educated than others.
Both Robert Krenz and Dennis Skogen are very high-dollar experts. Both were forced to concede that they came up with their speed estimates (which were dependent upon calculations in which they plugged in their data) before they ever went to the accident scene!!!
Deputy Gnacinski conceded under oath that his second speed calculation utilized by the Dane County DA’s Office was scientifically invalid from the get-go. Gnacinski testified that this calculation was done in Krenz’s office, with Humphrey and Krenz present. Gnacinski testified that he came up with a speed estimate compatible with Krenz, due to Gnacinski adding 50 feet to a tire mark distance that he had personally measured otherwise!!! The Dane County DA’s Office withheld Gnacinski’s purported data for almost one year, in violation of repeated court orders. They suffered no consequences.
The Wisconsin State Journal and Dee Hall have suffered no consequences for withholding the above from the public. In whose interest was and is it for the public to be kept in the dark?
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