624.2Bite Mark Analysis
Suggested Questions for Qualifying the Witness as a "Forensic Odontologist”:
1. Please state your name.
2. Where do you work and what is your position?
3. How long have you been doing this type of work?
4. Please explain what a forensic odontologist does.
5. What education, training, and experience have you had in bite mark analysis and identification?
6. Have you ever testified before in court and given opinions, as an expert witness, based on your analysis of bite mark evidence? [Check with expert before trial.]
7. Approximately how many times?
Tender witness to the court as an expert in bite mark analysis/forensic odontology—check with expert about proper description of specialty.
8. Do people have distinct dental characteristics?
a. What are they?
b. How are teeth used to identify people?
c. Has this form of identification generally been found to be reliable in your field?
9. In connection with this case, were you asked to examine the defendant’s teeth and to examine bite marks found on the victim in this case, (name victim)?
10. What was done during your examination of the defendant’s teeth?
11. What was done during your examination of a bite mark on (name victim)?
12. I show you what has been marked as State’s Exhibit Number(s) ___ (plaster cast of defendant’s teeth) and/or ___ (overlay of defendant’s teeth made from plaster cast).
a. What are these items?
b. Have you ever seen these items before, and if you have, how can you tell?
c. Are these casts and/or overlay identical representations of defendant’s teeth?
Offer exhibits into evidence.
13. I show you what has been marked as State’s Exhibit number ___ (photograph of bite mark on victim) and ask if you recognize it?
a. What is it?
b. Is this photograph a fair and accurate representation of the bite mark found on (name victim) on that date?
Offer exhibit into evidence.
It is useful if the expert refers to the actual exhibits in front of the jury while testifying and describes the identification factors common to the plaster cast of the defendant’s teeth and photograph of the teeth marks found on the victim:
Dr. ___________, would your use of these exhibits in front of the jury help you to explain and illustrate your testimony about how you made a comparison?
Your Honor, the State asks for permission for the witness to stand in front of the jury while testifying, and to use and to refer to State’s Exhibit number(s) ___ to illustrate his/her testimony.
14. Did you compare the defendant’s teeth in any other way with the bite mark found on (name victim) as shown in State’s Exhibit number ___?
15. Please briefly explain the purpose of this comparison and the method you used in making this comparison.
16. In summary, what did your examination and comparison of defendant’s teeth with the teeth marks found on (name victim) show? (Check with expert whether to ask the following question: How many common points of identification <did you find> <were there>?)
17. As a result of your examination and comparison, do you have an opinion concerning whether the bite mark found on (name victim) was made by the defendant? (Check with the expert whether the expert can make a definitive opinion. If not, rephrase the question as suggested by the expert, such as whether the bite mark was consistent with the defendant’s bite and inconsistent with bites of other people for whom plaster casts were made and compared with the bite marks.)
18. What is your opinion?
19. Based upon your training and study and your years of experience in bite mark analysis, are you aware of any two persons having identical dental characteristics and thus able to make identical teeth or bite marks? (Check with the expert whether the expert wants to this question to be asked.)
Move to introduce exhibits into evidence (if you have not already done so).