April 3, 2012

The use of "voice biometrics" in the Trayvon Martin case... and in all the other cases.

Tom Maguire and Jeralyn Merritt — via Instapundit — delve into the science of "voice biometrics," after an expert in this field, Tom Owen, asserted "with reasonable scientific certainty" that the screaming voice on the 911 recording was not that of George Zimmerman.

Please read the analysis by Merritt and Maguire. I just want to say one thing. Those who are pushing for the prosecution and conviction of Zimmerman, who seize with glee upon the voice biometrician's packaged conclusion, need to think about the use of this kind of expert opinion in all the other cases where prosecutors have more than one random recording of a person's voice. Your enthusiasm level should be the same. How reliable is this kind of expert opinion?

Obviously, if Zimmerman were at trial and Owen testified, giving his expert opinion, he would be cross-examined. His own statements — for example, claiming "reasonable scientific certainty" when he only had 2 recordings with different words and where one is screaming and one is not — would be used to impeach his credibility. Before you go too far, relying on the Expert! and Science!, go back to Merritt and Maguire and read carefully, imagining yourself as Zimmerman's defense lawyer and preparing your cross-examination.

In fact, you should imagine yourself as the prosecutor, imagining how the prosecution witness Owen would be cross-examined by Zimmerman's defense lawyer and deciding whether you would want to use Owen as a witness at all. And now — since I'm the lawprof giving assignments this morning — answer the following multiple choice question:

As Zimmerman's prosecutor, would you use Tom Owen as a witness?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Explain/qualify your answer in the comments.

129 comments:

Fen said...

"Tom Owen. Is he really a 'forensics expert?' Well, no. He has a B.A. in History, not forensics.

But surely they have an advanced forensic acoustics laboratory where they conduct their forensic analysis right? No, they just have a computer in the basement of their house in New Jersey right next to the railroad tracks.

But surely he's a member of the American Board of Recorded Evidence? Yes, but he and his wife run the Board. He's the chairman, and she's a board member. The Board is run out of a weight-loss clinic in Springfield, Missouri along with a bunch of other dubious "boards," "colleges" and "Institutes."
American Board for Certification in Homeland Security‎ - Address: 2750 East Sunshine St. Springfield, MO
American Association for Integrative Medicine Inc - Address: 2750 East Sunshine St. Springfield, MO
American College of Forensic‎ Examiners International - Address: 2750 East Sunshine St. Springfield, MOC
College of Wellness - Address: 2750 East Sunshine St. Springfield, MO
American Psychotherapy Association - Address: 2750 East Sunshine St. Springfield, MO

There are no colleges or real boards here. There's a fat farm weight loss clinic at that location. They appear to have certified themselves experts by running this board themselves."

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2012/04/this-is-the-expert-witness-the-orlando-sentinel-is-touting.html

That's your "expert"

MadisonMan said...

You assume that the defense attorney is good. That he or she understands science.

I would certainly want to walk the 'expert' through exactly what he did. And my first question as a defense attorney: Why didn't you use a scream to compare to a scream, and how does that influence the error probabilities.

PatCA said...

The big no for me would be that there is no exemplar of Trayvon's voice. So matching would be impossible. He would be asked on cross, did you have an exemplar, etc., just like they ask docs on CX, did you ever examine the defendant or just review the records.

And what Fen said. I doubt if a Court would even qualify him as an expert.

Oh, and the whole case stinks more to high heaven with each passing day.

edutcher said...

There was a good piece on Owen (I think on Insta) that went into his background, the one Fen quotes.

His degree is in history and he has no forensic background.

But that piece also mentioned that you need a benchmark sample in the same tone of voice (which seems perfectly reasonable).

Jay said...

If anything, this "expert" should be called by the defense to demonstrate how voice recognition could not be used in this case.

Pogo said...

It would be difficult for a jury not to laugh after reading through what Fen posted.

Owen is being stupid here, reaching too far just to get his product some publicity, no matter who it might harm. Reprehensible behavior.

Scott M said...

Oh, and the whole case stinks more to high heaven with each passing day.

Would you call the stench Duke-ie?

Fen said...

Jeralyn Merrit: I was wondering how Tom Owen (whom I have used as an expert in the past and found to be quite professional)

*snicker*

Heads up on her TalkLeft site - if you post a comment, a gaggle of libtards will demand you answer their questions. If you do, and manage to post more than 3 times total to that site your first day, Jeralyn will ban you as a "chatterer". She is not interested in the oppossing pov.

Don't waste your time with her (as I once did, way back when I was on Captain's Quarters).

DADvocate said...

Another area of forensics that has much less scientific basis than we've been led to believe is arson investigating. If you do a little searching, you'll find that much of the beliefs about flashpoints, starting points of fires and other stuff were just supposition and now that some people are doing scientific experimentation and observation, it's being found out that those suppositions were wrong.

Roger J. said...

I suspect there is considerably more evidence from contemporanous sources available to the prosecuting DA--While there have been numerous media attempts to develop "evidence", mostly along the lines of Law and Order and CSI, at this point the DA's judgment seems to me to be there is such reasonable doubt as to make a prosecution a waste of time.

We went thru this stuff with the Duke Lacrosse case and the unfortunately Richard Jewell. And were there a trial, unless jury nullification is the deciding factor, I dont see where any outcome will solve the problem.

Mary Beth said...

Am I missing something about why his "finding" was supposed to be so important in the first place? Please explain it to me because this is how I read it.

If we assume that it was either Martin or Zimmerman calling for help and Owen says there is a 48% chance it was Zimmerman, doesn't that mean there's a 52% chance it was Martin?

I could have come up with what is approximately 50/50 without hearing the audio.

Fen said...

It would be difficult for a jury not to laugh after reading through what Fen posted.

Thanks, but I just did a cut and past of Tom McGuire's work.

I guess the least I can do is give him a hotlink for sluething out this Tom Owen fraud.

Oh, it gets even better:

"Now, let's examine the software they used to perform their analysis. How good is it?

Well, given two KNOWN samples of speech by President Richard M. Nixon, the software only matched two recordings to a 86% match."


Bwahahahahah!

Rabel said...

I went with probably, but I'll repost my argument from late last night (slightly modified) for refutation:


One of the things that we know for sure (unless the police are just making things up) is that Zimmerman said as he was being treated for his injuries that he "was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me." This is from the police report. It was directed to the fireman/medic and "overheard" by the policeman.

For the voice to not be Zimmerman he would have to have precognitively recognized the importance of the help screams in bolstering a self-defense argument and formulated a plan to mislead the law by claiming to be the screamer.

He would have had to do this within minutes of being sucker punched and beat about the head, then shooting and killing a man for the first time in his life, and then being held at gunpoint while still armed by the police, and then being cuffed and placed under arrest.

Possible, but unlikely.

bagoh20 said...

He would need to prove in a blind test he could attach the scream to Zimmerman against random people, especially and including Martin. If he couldn't or didn't, then it's a slow one right over the plate for the defense.

paul a'barge said...

Use him? You bet.

I mean, the prosecutor does not have jack crap. Of course he's going to use the unreliable voice mutt.

There is not going to be a shred of evidence against the shooter, Zimmerman. And the prosecutor has to charge Zimmerman despite this, which really is pointless because whether Zimmerman is no-billed (not charged) or is found innocent at trail, there are going to be riots the likes of which we've never seen.

It's an election year and Obama's minions are going to unleash every dog of hell at every opportunity.

Fen said...

If we assume that it was either Martin or Zimmerman calling for help and Owen says there is a 48% chance it was Zimmerman, doesn't that mean there's a 52% chance it was Martin?

No it does not.

That's another problem with this "expert" - he doesn't understand the scientific method.

His software returned a 48% match likely because he did not have an accurate sample to test against (as real experts insist you must do). So 48% is actually a very good match, once you consider Tom Owen did the test half-ass.

But back to the scientific method - just because Zimmerman's result returned a 48% doesn't mean you can assume Martin is 52%. You need to test Martin too. And I'll wager that, based on Owen's shoddy work, Martin would return a result less than 48%.

Rabel said...

Please forgive my struggles with the past perfect subjunctive mood.

MadisonMan said...

You need to test Martin too

Yes. A good defense atty would therefore ask: Did you test Martin's voice, and what %age was returned?

Rabel's argument that it is Zimmerman on the tape makes sense to me.

ark said...

I read a book about this question once. Title: Galileo's Revenge -- Junk Science in the Courtroom. Author: Peter Huber, former clerk for Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor.

Despite the latter, I agree with his argument: Once upon a time, expert witnesses were expected to testify only about matters that could reasonably said to represent a consensus in their expert community. But over time, the ground shifted to a situation in which an expert can say on the stand anything that he can convince the judge he believes.

As a result, when an expert witness makes a claim on the stand, all one can reasonably conclude from that is that one person with a particular set of qualifications is willing to go on record as agreeing with that statement.

Pogo said...

I think the prosecutor should use a psychic.

For more evidence, he can use crystals, goat entrails, and tea leaves.

I have a Magic 8-ball lying around if they run out of ideas.

Molly said...

If I were prosecuting, I would basically farm out all prosecutorial decisions (such as whether to call this expert) to the activist civil rights community. I would not want to put myself in a situation in which I was accused of failing to provide a prosecution that met with the approval of Al Sharpton. So if Sharpton says "call the voice recog expert" I would call the voice recog expert, even if I thought it would hurt my chances of a successful prosecution.

bgates said...

If we assume that it was either Martin or Zimmerman calling for help and Owen says there is a 48% chance it was Zimmerman, doesn't that mean there's a 52% chance it was Martin?

I don't think it works like that. Suppose the anti-robot commenting thing looks like b[...a? or maybe o?]t. That's enough to confirm a 67% match for "bat", but it's also a 67% match for "bot". You can't say 67% for one and therefore 33% for the other.

Pianoman said...

OT: The number of headlines Drudge is devoting to the Zimmerman story is down to ONE.

All of this stuff about biometrics and voice analysis doesn't matter, IMHO. The real question is: Will there be riots following the exoneration of the grand jury later this month?

And a follow-up: If there ARE riots, can Sharpton be held legally liable for the outcome?

Rabel said...

And I just slapped myself for only now recognizing the irony of the fact that part of the Hispanic guy's defense is that he had a "wet back."

Michael McNeil said...

As the 2009 National Research Council report that I pointed to in a comment here yesterday notes with regard to voice identification analysis (p. 47):

“Failure to acknowledge uncertainty in findings is common: Many examiners claim in testimony that others in their field would come to the exact same conclusions about the evidence they have analyzed. Assertions of a ‘100 percent match’ contradict the findings of proficiency tests that find substantial rates of erroneous results in some disciplines (i.e., voice identification, bite mark analysis).”

Fen said...

And a follow-up: If there ARE riots, can Sharpton be held legally liable for the outcome?

Better - can the MSM be held legaly liable for the outcome?

This started out as a JournoList 2.0 attack on the 2nd Ammendment and Castle Doctrine.

But the MSM has, through deliberate fraud and deception, spun this out of control. They have abused the Freedom of the Press and will get away with it. We need restrictions on this kind of behavior so that there are consequences to conspiracy to forment race riots. There need to be financial consequences for this abuse, so that next time they pull this stunt they can be sued into exinction.

traditionalguy said...

The case does not exist, which is the problem facing the Florida residents.

Probable cause is the concept that is at issue. The opinions so far quoted say the Stand Your Ground Act puts the burden on the DA prior to arrest to make a finding..a finding of what? If it is a finding of probable cause, then the biometric voice analsis ruling out Zimmerman as the screamer is very relevant and the case is charged like almost happened.

But if the DA's burden is a finding of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Martin was not attacking a screaming Zimmerman, then the new Voice Science is not enough evidence without adding more samples and further analysis. But the case that never begun is forever closed.

So which is it?

The beyond a reasonable doubt view of the Florida statute seems to close their courts to all prosecutions of a shooter who says he was being threatened by the dead person.

If so, then Florida has gotten itself back to a standard of quick draw wins in the Streets of Dodge City and the courts will not waste their time on the outcomes.

Richard Dolan said...

Calling oneself an expert is worlds removed from being qualified to testify as one. I don't know whether the Florida courts have adopted a version of the Daubert test, but assuming it applies, the proponent would have to meet some demanding standards, beginning with a showing that the field of "voice biometrics" is a recognized area of scientific expertise. Normally publications in peer-reviewed journals, along with a demonstrated and accepted scientific methodology, are the minimums required. Doesn't sound like that test could be met here.

The choices in your list don't provide for a conclusion that the proffered testimony would be excluded under Daubert.

Dante said...

There is way too little information presented by you. Here is some additional information you have to provide:

1) Does the prosecutor in fact believe in Zimmerman's guilt? Does he/she want to convict him anyway?
2) Is the jury of the mentality that the Chewbacca defense would work (implying a similar Chewbacca offense would work)?

In other words, is the question about a just legal system, or about a lynch mob intent on hanging the guy.

Michael K said...

The one occasion I've seen this used required multiple clips of the person's voice and under different levels of stress and volume, not possible in Trayvon's case. Even then, it was inconclusive.

shiloh said...

"If we assume" gobbledygook aside ie all the irrelevant, nonsensical hypotheticals in this thread, just one problem.

Z hasn't been charged/indicted yet.

take care, blessings

William said...

I wonder what Tom Owen's position is on global warming. That's the mark of a true scientist. The mere fact that this is presented as evidence against Zimmerman is itself a marker of the animus against him. Tonight, on MSNBC, a poll of ten leading psychics reveals that Zimmerman is guilty.....I don't think this is Duke redux. Not all of the evidence is exculpatory for Zimmerman. But the hysteria, malice, and rage that is directed against Zimmerman is not because of his alleged crime but because of the alleged racism that drove him to commit it. I have yet to see any credible evidence of that. This voice expert is similar to that other expert who claims that he heard Zimmerman saying "coon" on his call to the 911 dispatcher.

Pogo said...

So does anyone know if any "Skittles and iced tea" were actually found?

Is it in the police report?

So much of the case has been manufactured BS, maybe that is, too.

shiloh said...

Voice analysis aside, the "experts" are totally confident Z used the derogatory African/American "C" word.

This would apply (((if))) Z is charged w/a federal hate crime.

Michael K said...

Ambient noise in the background can become much more important than the voices. I remember a case in which the stater of a motorcycle became the dominant piece of evidence.

I've testified in about 200 trials, about 189 them as an expert. Not on voice analysis, though.

Henry said...

I know we're not talking actually fraud, but every time some "expert" weighs in on the Trayvon Martin case the phrase that comes to my mind is Man, those Samoans are a surly bunch.

Fen said...

shiloh: Z hasn't been charged/indicted yet.

Under Florida Law he can't be:

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.

...a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012 , ...is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,...

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/0776.html

So Shiloh, please make your case that Zimmerman's use of force was unlawful.

The exercise will give you an opportunity to actually contribute something to this discussion, instead of your usual libtard trolling.

Pogo said...

If Zimerman weighs the same as a duck, he would float in water, and therefore must be made of wood, so...


"Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?"

Mary Beth said...

But back to the scientific method - just because Zimmerman's result returned a 48% doesn't mean you can assume Martin is 52%. You need to test Martin too. And I'll wager that, based on Owen's shoddy work, Martin would return a result less than 48%.

I understand how his software might find anywhere between 0% and 100% match if he had Martin's voice to test. But if we are assuming it was only one of two people who screamed and Owen states that he is sure that there is only a 48% chance it was Zimmerman, how, without having Martin to test, can we attach any percentage other than 52% to Martin?

Fen said...

Shiloh: "experts" are totally confident Z used the derogatory African/American "C" word.

Self-refuting statement. Your "experts" are charlatans.

You got any other clubs in your bag? Because you're in the sand again...

bagoh20 said...

A voice in the back ground over the phone being attributed to a particular person when their were lots of people both inside and outside the home where the call came who were not included in the test is just a no-brainer for the defense.

It definitely won't help the prosecution. I would rather use Rosie O'Donnell as an expert on metallurgy.

I think it would do more to convince jurors that Zimmerman has been railroaded and needs relief (acquittal). Bad move for the prosecutor.

Pogo said...

Shiloh, has anyone actually used 'coon' to refer to anything but a rabid quadriped in the last 50 years?

Lefty movies don't count.

X said...

Voice analysis aside, the "experts" are totally confident Z used the derogatory African/American "C" word.

those experts are fucking punks

Fen said...

Owen states that he is sure that there is only a 48% chance it was Zimmerman, how, without having Martin to test, can we attach any percentage other than 52% to Martin?

We can't.

Maybe I wasn't clear. That the software returned a 48% change for Zimmerman does not mean it would return a 52% for Martin.

Scott M said...

"Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?"

Nerd.

Justin said...

All testifying experts are overpaid shitbags who will say anything you want for money. The problem is they can mesmorize a jury and outwit most lawyers on cross.

dbp said...

"As Zimmerman's prosecutor, would you use Tom Owen as a witness?"

If the prosecution had an otherwise strong case then I would not use Tom Owen. But there isn't much else to use, that we know of.

I would look at forensic evidence on the body of Martin with an idea of planting a seed that Zimmerman hit first. If Zimmerman got in any hits, it would be impossible to tell which came first; Zimmerman's broken nose or whatever bruises are on Martin. I would also look for defensive wounds on martin such as bruising on the forearms. Powder residue from the gunshot might be really useful in that the pattern from using both hands to pound a guy's head on the ground might look a lot like having your hands raised in surrender.

Pianoman said...

@Fen: Better - can the MSM be held legaly liable for the outcome?

Naw, too nebulous and too spread out. You'd need to target individual news agencies, I guess. NBC might get in trouble for doctoring the audio, and ABC for doctoring the video, but you can't just go after the "MSM".

shiloh said...

"those experts are fucking punks"

Just another reason Althouse states emphatically this is one of the top conservative blogs on the net. :-P

Regardless, please keep purchasing Althouse stuff lol.

Pogo said...

"But if we are assuming it was only one of two people who screamed and Owen states that he is sure that there is only a 48% chance it was Zimmerman, how, without having Martin to test, can we attach any percentage other than 52% to Martin?"

The software can make a similar 0-100% match compared to Martin. Analyses are, or should be, independent of whether we are testing 2, 3 , or 100 people.

So both analyses could return less than A 50% match. It's not a DNA study; it doesn't have to fully match anyone.

It's hard to tell who is screaming, would be my guess.

Scott M said...

Regardless, please keep purchasing Althouse stuff lol.

Have you read up on the qualifications of these experts? How well do you suppose they would handle cross-examination?

Pogo said...

@Scott M said...
"Nerd."

Proudly.

Scott M said...

Proudly.

Go and change your armor.

Jerome said...

Two eyewitnesses say that Zimmerman was on his back, on the ground, screaming, with Trayvon Martin on top of him, beating him. Maybe it was actually a ventriloquist, hiding in the bushes?

shiloh said...

"Scott M said...

Regardless, please keep purchasing Althouse stuff lol.

Have you read up on the qualifications of these experts? How well do you suppose they would handle cross-examination?

4/3/12 11:03 AM"

I'm fairly confident the experts would state categorically Althouse is a shyster charlatan who enjoys making $$$ from her conservative lemmings.

As always, a jury will decide her fate! :D

Jay said...

shiloh said...
Voice analysis aside, the "experts" are totally confident Z used the derogatory African/American "C" word.




Really?
Who?
When did they reveal this?

Scott M said...

I'm fairly confident the experts would state categorically Althouse is a shyster charlatan who enjoys making $$$ from her conservative lemmings.

As always, a jury will decide her fate! :D


Neither statement answers either of my questions, but please feel free to stay in character.

Fen said...

Shiloh: Just another reason -

I see Shiloh passed on the opportunity to prove he can reason.

Lets see if he dodges a second chance:


shiloh: Z hasn't been charged/indicted yet.

Under Florida Law he can't be:

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.

...a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012 , ...is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,...

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/0776.html

So Shiloh, please make your case that Zimmerman's use of force was unlawful.

The exercise will give you an opportunity to actually contribute something to this discussion, instead of your usual libtard trolling.

Hagar said...

Absolutely yes. He would be destroyed on cross-examination, reflecting badly on everything else.

shiloh said...

"please feel free to stay in character."

Likewise Scott M. w/your nonsensical reply ...

Regardless, please keep purchasing Althouse stuff lol.

Have you read up on the qualifications of these experts?

Scott M said...

It wasn't nonsensical at all. It was the last line of your previous post allowing it to be easily traced back to who said it or to catch that person's eye. I assume you participate on blogs enough to know this.

And then you refused to answer two direct, non-insulting questions. Why?

shiloh said...

Fen, didn't Meade ban you some time ago!

ok, since this is a "free" Mickey Mouse google blog which doesn't require membership there is no way for Althouse to ban anyone.

Apologies to Mickey ...

shiloh said...

Scott M.

When you're in a hole, stop digging ...

or not!

Scott M said...

@Shiloh

I have no idea if these people are "fucking punks" and didn't characterize them as such. Since you decided to insert yourself in the thread, I asked your opinion on two specific questions. I'm still interested in hearing it.

Hagar said...

and, oh, yes, "FIFY."

In the construction industry I have heard two definitions of an "expert."
One is "a person that is more than 50 miles from home and owns a briefcase."
The other is "we all know what an 'ex' is, and a 'spert' is a drip under pressure."

I have only seen two law suits with "expert testimony" myself, but in both cases the "expert" and his testimony was absolutely appalling.

Mary Beth said...

Yes, as I said before, "
I understand how his software might find anywhere between 0% and 100% match if he had Martin's voice to test."

But in my earlier comment I said this is if we assume it was only one of two people. (Has anyone else claimed to be the one screaming?) He's not doing science because he can't without testing Martin and anyone else who was around and might have screamed. (If then, I don't have much confidence in his ability.) So the scientific method is irrelevant in this case. We have a set of two and he's saying there is 48% chance that it's one of the two.

He's not offering a scientific conclusion so he can only be offering a mathematical one.

Lem said...

If I'm the prosecutor I would put up everything.. not just on the chance that it might stick up on the wall where jurors might hang their hat.. but because I would also want to finish a career instead of having the ramifications of an undesired outcome in a political case finish it for me.

A reverse Darden.

kimsch said...

Mary Beth: You are assuming that the voice could only be Martin or Zimmerman on the test. The test only shows to what degree the voice may be Zimmerman's.

If there were, for example, 5 voices tested against the scream, the total of percentages would not necessarily equal 100%.

Voice A could be a 30% probability, Voice B 30%, Voice C 20%, and Voices D & E (identical twins in my example) could be 48% each.

The test isn't determining which of two possible voices the scream matches, but the probability that one particular voice did the screaming.

Considering the facts that the Zimmerman exemplar was spoken word being compared to screaming and was a 48% probability that it matched, that would seem to indicate more that it was indeed Zimmerman screaming.

It says nothing at all about the probability of the screamer being Martin. There are no exemplars to test.

wv: ityper gerch

steve baker said...

I testify as an expert several times a year, mostly in civil cases where the standard is reasonably probable or more likely than not. My opinions are based on the facts and process(es)used to arrive at the opinion. These are the 2 areas I am questioned on during cross. Based on what I see as far as the processes followed in this case they are fatally flawed because they did not follow published protocol and if this were a Daubert state then my opinion would never be allowed to begin with. Worst case, the defense would bring in an expert(s) to attack the process and it would never get beyond reasonable doubt. As an expert I would never go in with this as flimsy as it is.

Lem said...

Some of you may remember, Darden was pulled back from his prominent role in the prosecution.. Even though it was not said why at the time, it was clear to me that it was to protect him.

In the Zimmerman case the only way for the prosecutor to protect him/herself would be to put up/trow everything at those jurors.

BTW - shouldn't it be called the Zimmerman case?

I mean, if eventually he is arrested and prosecuted?

Scott M said...

I mean, if eventually he is arrested and prosecuted?

Even if he's not charged, can't he be sued by the parents for wrongful death a la Simpson?

Hagar said...

Oh, and not only were the "experts" testimonies appalling, but so were their bills for services rendered.
You need to keep in mind that these people make a living testifying rather than doing.

Fen said...

So Shiloh, please make your case that Zimmerman's use of force was unlawful.

The exercise will give you an opportunity to actually contribute something to this discussion, instead of your usual libtard trolling.


shiloh: Fen, didn't Meade ban you some time ago!

Nope. Never banned.

And...Shiloh steps back up to the plate...another wild swing and a miss!

I think we've established that Shiloh is incapable of backing up his false claims and is not interested in anything but disrupting the thread.

Meade?

Fen said...

Even if he's not charged, can't he be sued by the parents for wrongful death a la Simpson?

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012 , ...is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,...

Chip Ahoy said...

I too am expert at audio analysis and offer my services to Florida courts to assist in the resolution of this serious matter.

I will need the cooperation of the test subject in producing a master scream recording. This could take some time to achieve an equal degree of genuine terror. Screams, particularly male screams, can be tricky. It's hard to fake. But you get a fake scream, fake scream, fake scream, fake scream, finally with sufficient cattle prod jolts we get a REAL scream that we can use to compare to the original real scream. It takes a lot out of a guy.

As for qualifications I've used Audacity and iMovie and they both have those histogram thingies that go up and down. You match 'em up, how hard can it be? Bang dayitiz exspurts.

[You saw the guy who looked to be all of twenty-four or so, probably a little older, going for the histrionics award on Piers Morgan interview, and I mean really caterwauling, "You're British. You don't know. You have no way to relate to our suffering these last hundred years," and a full two hundred years of suffering poured out, as if he had lived each awful year of suffering personally, from the Harvard graduate's mouth.]

Kirk Parker said...

Mary Beth,

Here's where you go wrong: "We have a set of two and he's saying there is 48% chance that it's one of the two."

That is absolutely NOT what the claim is. The claim is that, given the test sample and the reference sample(s), there's a 48% chance that the test and the reference was produced by the same person. That's all.

Does this help you see that "neither" is also a possible answer to your question?

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amartel said...

How does this get past a Daubert motion? The methodology, even under normal circumstances, does not appear reliable to the point where it should be applied forensically. However, Daubert presumes that science is not politicized.

Voice biometrics wouldn't even be a serious topic for discussion if it was not politically expedient to burn a witch as soon as possible. If that means turning an opportunistic liberal arts major into a scientific "expert" on biometrics because he says what they want him to say, well, so be it. Actual scientists, er people with science degrees, will be produced to back his silly ass up. Next on the agenda will be to keep referring to the scientific "consensus" on voice biometrics, wheither or not such a "scientific" "consensus" actually exists. People with degrees in science will do peer reviews and spurious testing to confirm the scientific consensus. Lastly, it will become conventional wisdom that voice biometrics is "generally accepted in the scientific community" and meets all the other Daubert criteria.
Et voila. Bonfire.

AlphaLiberal said...

Why do conservatives want to defend George Zimmerman so much? They really go out of their way to bash the dead kid and defend the killer.

It's a joke that this stout defense of a killer comes form the badly mislabeled "pro-life" crowd.

Thorley Winston said...

Shiloh, has anyone actually used 'coon' to refer to anything but a rabid quadriped in the last 50 years?

Does South Park count?

Scott M said...

Why do conservatives want to defend George Zimmerman so much?

Aside from the ridiculously broad brush you're using (there are conservatives right here on this blog stridently against a supposed coverup that's defending Zimmerman thus far), why is it considered "defending" to say, "let's wait for all the details to come out"?

The converse of your question would be "why do liberals want to convict Zimmerman so much?" Equally ridiculous, although plenty of bad actors jumped to the racial hatred card, unsurprisingly, right off the bat.

Hagar said...

Because this to-do is nothing but crap. There is nothing here to justify stirring up a lynch mob.

Fen said...

Trad: Probable cause is the concept that is at issue. The opinions so far quoted say the Stand Your Ground Act puts the burden on the DA prior to arrest to make a finding..But the case that never begun is forever closed. ...The beyond a reasonable doubt view of the Florida statute seems to close their courts to all prosecutions of a shooter who says he was being threatened by the dead person.

No. Again you are misreading the law:


(2)A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

ie. the courts are not "forever closed". The DA may still invesitigate the shooting, and if he finds evidence that the use of force was unlawful, he may arrest and prosecute.

Fen said...

AlphaLiberal: Why do conservatives -

Jesus Christ Alpha, is that your best shot? You've become a parody of yourself.

Mary Beth said...

I'm going to go back and reread the original article because I must be misremembering what it implied.

I know that IRL it could have been Martin, Zimmerman or an unknown person. I thought I made that clear previously, but it seemed to me that the article that presented Owen as an expert implied it was an either/or thing. If his opinion was presented that way before, why should I assume it will be presented in a more scientific way later?

But, if my memory of it is wrong all I can say is, never mind. (in the voice of Emily Litella.)

Revenant said...

Most forensic "science", isn't.

There are a handful of exceptions, like DNA analysis, but most of it is neither rigorous nor backed by conclusive peer-reviewed research.

DADvocate said...

Why do conservatives want to defend George Zimmerman so much?

Why do cnservatives care so much about the truth? Why do they want to know what really happened? Why do they think it matters if the press lies about the facts? What's wrong with those idiots? Why can't they just fall in line and believe the narrative?

Revenant said...

Why do conservatives want to defend George Zimmerman so much?

Because he appears to be innocent.

Ken said...

Why do conservatives want to defend George Zimmerman so much? They really go out of their way to bash the dead kid and defend the killer.

Why are liberals so quick to discard the notion of "innocent till proven guilty"? Is there some inside knowledge liberals have into the minds of Hispanics and blacks that lets them judge, with very little facts, who is guilty of what? Do you not understand that while Zimmerman may be found guilty of murder, the opposite may be true, he may have had just cause to use deadly force?

Mary Beth said...

I was wrong, it was Ed Primeau who was certain the voice was Martin's. I still believe that the article implies that the "science" they are presenting is an either/or question.

Fen said...

but it seemed to me that the article that presented Owen as an expert implied it was an either/or thing

It did. And it was wrong.

If his opinion was presented that way before, why should I assume it will be presented in a more scientific way later?

I think the DA will be more professional than the rubes at the Orlando Sentinel but 1) he has to present it in a venue that allows for feedback, and 2) he doesn't have alot to work with. His own "expert" refutes himself (see JustOneMinute).

So I doubt it will be presented later. The defense will hand the DA his ass if it is.

As for having an *actual* expert do the testing? Who knows? Depends on what Zimmerman's legal strategy is.

Fen said...

/oh sorry, unfinished

because to do a proper test, Zimmerman must voluntarily provide his voice in the same words and tone as they are testing.

Fen said...

it was Ed Primeau who was certain the voice was Martin's.

Yes. He's the other "expert" that relies solely on his own ears...

I still believe that the article implies that the "science" they are presenting is an either/or question.

It does, and its wrong.

shiloh said...

"So Shiloh, please make your case that Zimmerman's use of force was unlawful."

ok, Fen's constant baiting er red herring/deflections notwithstanding, have not mentioned anything in this thread re: unlawful ie wasn't there so have no opinion, unlike the laughable certitude of most Althouse conservatives.

Continuing Fen's deflection meme, thought Casey Anthony was guilty FWIW, but alas was not on the jury. Ditto O.J.'s criminal trial.

hmm, that pesky reasonable doubt!

Unfortunately life's not always fair, ie unsolved murders:

Every year in America, 6,000 killers get away with murder.

We now return you to Fen's ad nauseam, inane deflections!

Bruce Hayden said...

You assume that the defense attorney is good. That he or she understands science.

Normally, I would be more worried about this, but a defense fund is already raising money for his defense. And, there is enough interest in this on the right, that there should be little problem finding experts in different facets of the case willing to contribute, possibly even for free.

shiloh said...

"but a defense fund is already raising money for his defense."

Mentioned at another blog right after the M's killing became news ~ not to worry as the NRA will make sure Z is well defended, as again ...

Z has not been charged/indicted yet!

carry on

Bruce Hayden said...

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

It cannot be repeated too often here that Florida law is different than that found in many states. In many states, self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means that the prosecution only needs to show that there was probable cause to believe that the defendant killed the victim, and then the defense has the burden of going forward with the self-defense affirmative defense. This means that it is often fairly easy to arrest the killer, esp. at the early stages, since the defendant often has not had a chance to make his self-defense defense yet.

It is marketedly different in states like Florida. Once the possibility of self-defense has been raised (in this case, by Zimmerman claiming it up front), the killer cannot be arrested until and unless the state can establish probable cause that the killing was not in self-defense to overcome this defense.

And, to the point that the cops wanted to arrest Zimmerman, and were prevented by the DA's office - keep in mind that the cops are not attorneys, and the prosecutors are, and are most likely to be better versed in the subtleties here.

Canuck said...

If under Florida law Z. can't be charged, what is the point in talking about it's use as trial evidence?

No charge = no trial, no witness testimony, no debate over the voice recording or anything else before the bar.

Or is the question: does this recording constitute probable cause under US laws? Would it build a case for probable cause under FL law?

I don't know. I defer to people who know the system like tradguy.

If M. had shot & killed Z. should he be charged? Why or why not?

If there is no probable cause, doesn't that mean that in any fight without witnesses whoever shoots first goes free?

Canuck said...

"marketedly different in states like Florida. Once the possibility of self-defense has been raised (in this case, by Zimmerman claiming it up front), the killer cannot be arrested until and unless the state can establish probable cause that the killing was not in self-defense to overcome this defense."

But doesn't this mean that if M. had killed Z. he would be free today?

M. could easily say Z. attacked him, and the 911 calls would show Z. was following him. And the witness testimony is all over the place.

Rabel said...

Defense atty:

"So, Mr. Owen did your test show that there was a 48% match between the voice on the 911 tapes and Mr. Zimmerman's voice?"

Owen:

"Yes."

Defense atty:

"No further questions, your honor."

Hagar said...

@ B. Hayden,

The cops did arrest Zimmermann and "brought him in for questioning."
The D.A. would not let them charge him.

And as for "the lead detective wanted to charge him," has anyone seen anything about why the lead detective wanted to do that? Just S.O.P., or any other possible motive(s)?

Hagar said...

and @Canuck,

If Martin had succeeded in killing or disabling Zimmermann by smashing his head against the concrete walk, he presumably would have claimed that Zimmermann had accosted him, and he had just chosen to "stand his ground" and defend himself.
If Zimmermann was dead or totally disabled, there would be no one to gainsay him; if Zimmermann survived and regained consciousness there could be a trial and the jury asked to decide whose story they believed.

Rabel said...

Canuck asked:

"If there is no probable cause, doesn't that mean that in any fight without witnesses whoever shoots first goes free?'

Good question. Two guys, two guns, one dead, no witnesses, no circumstantial or corroborating evidence, no history.
What would happen?

Not much relationship to the Zimmerman case, but still a good question.

Hagar said...

and, of course, they could find both stories equally believable, or unbelievable, and thus guilt not proven beyond a reasonable doubt in either case.

traditionalguy said...

Fen...Then will you agree with me that only a PR campaign by the dead man's family gets the "temporarily closed" Investigation re-started and the results disclosed?

The Investigator thought Probable Cause that the shooter used "unlawful force" was clearly there to him.

But a reading of the stand your ground statute that puts in an initial beyond a reasonable doubt finding burden on the Prosecutor is a ticket for him to end all prosecutions if played.

The black fathers and mothers are saying that such a ticket it is never played that way for them, and that makes this into a racial component in application.

The other result that I abhor is No Fault Murder has been enacted in Florida, with 007 status granted to any armed person who is yelled at or threatened by an unarmed person who chases them down, for any reason.

That is Vigilante law enacted by the Floridians. It does save Florida the costs of Police Detectives, Uniform officers and Courts and Judges and DAs and Juries in the Wild Wild Peninsula.

Almost Ali said...

This kind of "evidence" is right up Jeff Ashton's (Casey Anthony prosecutor) alley - much on sound and furry, little in the way of proof.

But remember, there's a lot of Jeff Ashtons' out here, enough to choke an innocent horse.

Canuck said...

Hagar & Rabel -

yeah, if M. had shot first, under this standard, I don't see how they build probable cause under this standard.

Girlfriend on the phone gives statement saying M. said he was being followed. She told him to run. Z. says to 911 "he is running."

M. claims to the police that Z. attacked him first or was holding a gun.

Arrests for all sorts of stuff-- bar fights, frat parties out of control, drunk people on the street getting into it-- are all going to be a mess if this is the standard (if there are no witnesses.) Don't see how you get to probable cause.

Boston Massacre. I don't see how the soldiers are arrested under this standard. They were throwing snowballs with rocks inside. John Adams never makes his mark on history with his defense. "Facts are stubborn things." Triumph of the jury trial.

traditionalguy said...

Oops, I meant to say ,"...an unarmed person whom they chased down for any reason."

Final thought: When going around in Florida always wear a kevlar vest and carry two or more loaded guns with chambered rounds...or better yet never go anywhere in Florida.

Revenant said...

Canuck,

"I don't see how _____" is not a valid argument.

bbkingfish said...

I voted yes.

I would use his testimony, and that of voice forensics expert Ed Primeau, who doesn't advocate voice biometrics, but whose conclusion agrees with Owen's while using traditional techniques of voice analysis.

I also would closely question the 13-year old eyewitness who saw two guys struggling in the dark at some distance. How did he conclude who was yelling? How sure will he seem of his testimony some months later?

Two experts from two different theoretical approaches in the same field come to the same conclusion. How strong is the eyewitness testimony to the contrary? And does any eyewitness agree with the experts?

Revenant said...

The black fathers and mothers are saying that such a ticket it is never played that way for them

Let's see them prove it.

and that makes this into a racial component in application.

Even if you could show that there was racial discrimination at work here -- and you can't -- it doesn't follow that Zimmerman ought to be arrested. That's like saying the solution to police brutality against blacks is for police to beat up white people too.

traditionalguy said...

Revenant ...You proposed a funny way to comply with the 14th Amendment.

It had a logicians ring to it... The Denial of equal protection of the laws is the same as denial of equal non protection of the laws.

Congratulations.

Gene said...

A neighbor, who says he talked to Zimmerman every day, says that it's clear to him that it's Zimmerman on the tape pleading for his life.

I'd believe the neighbor over voice recognition software that says there's a 48% probability the voice is not that of Zimmerman.

Fen said...

bbkingfish: I would use his testimony, and that of voice forensics expert Ed Primeau, who doesn't advocate voice biometrics, but whose conclusion agrees with Owen's while using traditional techniques of voice analysis.

Traditional analysis: he uses he ears. Maybe he has superpowers? I'd ask him that on the stand. Are you Clark Kent? Do you have super-hearing? What a joke.

I also would closely question the 13-year old eyewitness who saw two guys struggling in the dark at some distance. How did he conclude who was yelling?

Not dark enough and not distant enough for him to identify who was wearing what color and who was the one screaming.

Two experts from two different theoretical approaches in the same field come to the same conclusion. How strong is the eyewitness testimony to the contrary?

Your two "experts" are going to be thrown out of court as charlatans. The eyewitness won't.

[...]

BTW, still waiting for you to back up your false assertions from last week:

1) cite the tox report that claims no drugs in Martin's system

2) cite the law that says Zimmerman should have been tested for drugs after the shooting.

Hack.

But I'm glad you told us you voted yes. I've always wanted to know how people could be so stupid.

Fen said...

traditional: When going around in Florida always wear a kevlar vest and carry two or more loaded guns with chambered rounds...or better yet never go anywhere in Florida.

Better: Don't be a thug or you'll die like a thug. Don't attack citizens, they may be armed.

Fen said...

Trad: Fault Murder has been enacted in Florida, with 007 status granted to any armed person who is yelled at or threatened by an unarmed person who chases them down, for any reason.

That is Vigilante law enacted by the Floridians. It does save Florida the costs of Police Detectives, Uniform officers and Courts and Judges and DAs and Juries in the Wild Wild Peninsula


Now you're just pouting. Try not to drown in your own hyperbole.

Revenant said...

Revenant ...You proposed a funny way to comply with the 14th Amendment.

Self-defense is a fundamental human right. I don't share your belief that only people who can afford lawyers are allowed to exercise it.

Fen said...

Bam!

Jay said...

bbkingfish said...


Two experts from two different theoretical approaches in the same field come to the same conclusion.


Hysterical.

The lies you need to tell yourself in order to be a leftist are endless.

Jay said...

traditionalguy said...


The other result that I abhor is No Fault Murder has been enacted in Florida, with 007 status granted to any armed person who is yelled at or threatened by an unarmed person who chases them down, for any reason.

That is Vigilante law enacted by the Floridians. It does save Florida the costs of Police Detectives, Uniform officers and Courts and Judges and DAs and Juries in the Wild Wild Peninsula


Laugh out loud funny.

Watching you continue to beclown yourself on this matter is kind of sad.

But deserved.

Methadras said...

I developed biometric devices when I was working up in the NorCal area for DoD, FBI, CIA and they collected all the relative biometric captures of fingerprints, iris, face, vascular, and voice. However, of all the biometric data that is considered the weakest, the voice biometric is usually not used. We used to store it, but if the other values couldn't give a hit on a target capture, then the voice was almost never used. If it isn't good enough for the feds, trust me, it won't be good here and I suspect it won't make much difference in light of the apparent editing and redacting the leftard media has done in this case with 'leaked' footage and sound.

Revenant said...

different theoretical approaches in the same field

I love the idea that "I listened to it and it sounded like a 17-year-old kid to me" qualifies as "a theoretical approach to voice identification".

Fen said...

I like that he had to call it the "traditional" technique.

It means he knew his arguement was bullshit as he was typing it.

Anthony said...

Not reading through the comments, so someone may have beaten me to this, but my answer is "none of the above". Jeralyn Merrit said that Tom Owen has pretty much said that the analysis he released wasn't enough to form an expert opinion on which he'd testify. So as the DA, I'd first have to ask what he'd be willing to testify to before I put him up on the stand. He might end up saying that it's impossible to tell, which would make the whole exercise pointless.

Leland said...

For the poll, I'd say use him if your the Federal prosecutor, because you'll need that other story about him using racial slurs to even prosecute for a hate crime. For the DA, I don't think you'll ever find enough evidence to gain "beyond a reasonable doubt".

But I'll take Fen's challenge to wimpy Shiloh. I think there exists probably cause since it can be argued Martin lacked the means to cause death or great bodily harm. Unless we are going to say anyone that's 6'1" has such inherit ability. If that's the case, anyone walking down the street is a threat, and anyone that throws a punch has the potential to cause bodily harm. Since I don't think that's the intent, I'd make the arrest and have the jury decide. But the next step is having the jury believe beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't think that's going to happen.

Lizzy said...

We live in a nation that desperately wants to deny its most painful truths. We find no problem with 12 months of Casey Anthony media coverage but can't stand three weeks of Trayvon Martin coverage because the latter forces us to come to terms with white supremacy and police misconduct.

We would rather criminalize a hoodie than deal with the fact that our system criminalizes black and brown people. We'd rather concoct fantastic stories of Trayvon as a lawless aggressor so that we don't have to explain why his confessed killer continues to walk the streets.

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