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Community Advocacy Organization

Facial Recognition: The Key to Freedom or Junk Science?

In the world of criminal defense litigation, the concept of DNA has evolved into a sophisticated way to prove the innocence of an individual but research has shown that there may even be a more powerful way to win a case and prove a client’s innocence and that is the concept of facial recognition.

To have a global perspective on the topic, a face recognition system is a computer application capable of identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame from a video source. One of the ways to do this is by comparing selected facial features from the image and a face database. To learn more about this topic, we spoke to leaders in the field of criminal defense and they added insight. What these lawyers’ explained was eye-opening when you see how much evidence is not accounted for in the court system. Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates in Lansing, Michigan is the renowned leader in criminal defense in the state of Michigan. When asked about facial recognition, Grabel stated, “The issue of facial recognition has always been one that presented issues with accuracy. The concept has been tried unsuccessfully by many in the state of Michigan. We have found a great deal of success by utilizing 3-Dimensional Recognition. 3-Dimensional Recognition is an emerging leader in facial detection. This technique uses 3D sensors to capture information about the shape of a face. This information is then used to identify distinctive features on the surface of a face, such as the contour of the eye sockets, nose, and chin. When you employ it and there is a video of a crime scene or a dash cam in place, 3-Dimensional Recognition can win the jury over.” Matthew McManus is a partner in the law firm Ann Arbor Legal and he has started to build a reputation for a skilled criminal litigator. McManus weighed in on the topic when he said, “One of the amazing attributes about 3-Dimensional Recognition is that it is not compromised by lighting and other techniques. The clarity that comes into play is amazing and can equate to freedom for the criminal defendant.”

Ravi Gurumurthy is the founder of Michigan Legal North in Cadillac, Michigan and spoke of the pitfalls of the issue. “To say that facial recognition, especially 3-Dimensional Recognition is not an attribute to the criminal defense lawyer would be a great misstatement. However, we have to remember that there is still an obstacle to getting the expert qualified. In Michigan, whenever we have a controversial issue such as this, the courts can view this as junk science. We need to make certain to get the expert qualified before we can entertain the concept but once that obstacle is overcome, the path to freedom becomes a strong probability.” Facial recognition has the potential to have a profound impact on the field of criminal law. The attorney that gets their expert qualified and can display the importance of the evidence can quickly turn junk into treasure. William C. Amadeo is a criminal and civil litigator in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Along with his legal duties, he is also a contributing journalist for “The Chronicle News” and owns and and operates BAT Tutoring in Lansing, Michigan. He can be reached at:

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