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Common Impediments to Fact Gathering

An experienced Forensic Criminologist can identify exculpatory evidence, mitigating facts, investigative facts and circumstances, as well as errors & omissions that common practitioners overlook, ignore, or are simply oblivious to. The result can often put the evidence in proper, more favorable context. In addition to faulty decision making and tactical blunders, there are frequently errors in social cognition. The following are some commonly observed mistakes:

  • Inexperience (or bad experience)

  • Confirmation / Observation Bias1

    • Failure to consider alternative possibilities

    • Selective review of evidence 

    • Ignoring contrary evidence  

    • A singular theory guides the perspective of all evidence, facts & circumstances2.

    • Case facts are deemed relevant only if they support the case theory.

    • Interpreting contrary evidence as being supportive

  • Noble Cause Corruption

    • The end justifies the means

  • Failure to think critically

  • Inferential errors

  • Deductive fallacies

  • Impervious Attitudes

  • Professional Obstinacy 

  • Inaccurate links in chain of reasoning

  • Arrogance & Ego

    • Stubborn resistance to alternative theories for a number of reasons.

    • Interpreting disconfirmatory evidence as favored-theory reinforcing.

    • Hubris

  • Finite Resources

    • Insufficient attention to detail

    • Taking shortcuts

    • Failure to follow investigative protocol

  • Unskilled & Unaware

    • Not only will someone incompetent reach the wrong conclusions and make bad choices, but their incompetence robs them of their ability to realize it.3

  • Conclusions and Assumptions

    • Calling that which is possible, probable or certain when it favors one's conclusions.

    • Concluding an opinion, as factual

    • Incorporating inference or conjecture into conclusions

    • Biased interpretation (favorable reconciliation) of equivocal evidence

  • Negligence and Incompetence

    • Inadequate or incomplete investigative activity.

  • Misconduct 

    • excessive vs. illegal

    • intentional vs. negligent

    • malfeasance

    • misfeasance

  • Ad hominem fallacies

  • Unclear sources of information

    • Vague narrative suggesting secondary sources of information

  • Belief Perseverance - the tendency to continue believing in a theory, despite the presence of disconfirmatory evidence. This can hold true for a particular fact or fact scenario, within the overall theory.4


Case building occurs when a predetermined goal is established and the actors set about trying to prove their beliefs. Generally this occurs before all of the facts, circumstances and evidence is interpreted or even gathered. Some instances are simple mistakes or omissions while others are intentionally misleading. Conclusions must be made from comprehensive analyses of all evidence, based upon scientifically based forensic analysis and critical thinking, in order to provide the proper context to a specific set of circumstances. Through relevant professional experience, training, knowledge and expertise, we have the ability to read between the lines and provide and informed evidence-based conclusions. While often residing under the surface, these conclusions are factually identifiable, articulable, and offer insight into avenues of vulnerability of government case building. By incorporating established psychological principles with forensic knowledge, we can assist the practitioner to broaden the scope of possibility in a case, reconstitute vague or equivocal evidence, and endow it with persuasive context from an applied, forensic perspective. Doubt and truth are not enemies

For the wrongfully accused and their frustrated families and friends, we can review your case and provide reliable, competent assistance. It is far better to establish substantive, viable challenges to evidence and circumstances early in the process than to try and dig yourself out of a hole later. 


Remember, the government does not reveal it weaknesses. Don't wait until the government's unrelenting resources obliviate the truth.

Contact a Forensic Consultant today


  1. Wallace, W. (2015). The Effect of Confirmation Bias on Criminal Investigative Decision Making (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest/UMI (Manuscript No. 15885).

  2. Petherick, W., Turvey, B., & Ferguson, C. (2010) Forensic Criminology, Elsevier Academic Press, Boston, MA

  3. Kruger, J. & Dunning, D. (1999) Unskilled & Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 77 (6), 1121-1134

  4. Douglas, N. (2000) Enemies of Critical Thinking: Lessons from Social Psychology Research. Reading Psychology. (21), 129-144

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