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Unethical Behavior in Forensic Science

The acquittal of Peter Nickel in February of 2004 from assertions that he was responsible for the death of his long-time employee Gary Rowley in a major car accident was a  when Nickel’s Defense lawyer, Gary M. Wilson, accuses the Detroit police of tempering evidence.

Crowley was said to be on the driver’s seat while Nickel was at the truck’s cargo bed.

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A faulty roadway and a blown-up tire was said to be the major cause for the accident as Cowley was thrown off the truck and was pinned under the truck’s cargo bed when it veered off the road, rolled over and hit a telephone pole.

Both victims were said to have been intoxicated prior to the accident but accusations on Nickel’s intentional involvement in the incident was put into question when Wilson argued that the police had switched the original blown-up tire to conceal evidence and obtain conviction.

Mr. Wilson’s allegations were later found to be true when a sheriff deputy admitted to have made the switch. Automotive forensic scientist, Sal Fariello, gave his expert opinion on the case, testifying that most DUI crashes cannot be convicted by mere alcohol intoxication alone since most accidents would have happened anyway even if the persons involved were sober.

There seems to be rampant cases involving incompetent law enforcers and investigators who tamper with evidences in order to easily solve the case and move on to another. The case exemplified here is a classic scenario of intentional tampering of evidence and authorities should consider how to contain and prevent such mistakes from recurring in crime scenes.


Responsibility in DUI Laws, Inc. (2004, February 13). Police Evidence Tampering in High Profile DUI Vehicle Homicide Case. Retrieved April 19, 2009, from http://www.ridl.us/articles/policeTampering.html.