[asa] forensic science and wrongful convictions

From: <Dawsonzhu@aol.com>
Date: Tue Sep 12 2006 - 01:25:54 EDT

This is a reply to Moorad's post: something in the
web filtering prevents me from including the quotation.

I recall about 1 year ago there was an article in
Science Magazine about forensic science:


There were some rather surprising points, particularly

"What was unexpected is that
erroneous forensic science expert testimony
is the second most common contributing
factor to wrongful convictions, found in 63%
of those cases. "

However, the authors attribute most of this
to ignorance or lack of adequate training on the part of
the forensic scientists, pressure and vested interest (my words)
with respect to expert testimony, and inadequate
critical analysis. There is little failure attributed to the techniques

It would not be good to rely on forensic science alone, but neither
should we rely only on witnesses alone, or any other one thing in making
a conviction. I would expect that good detectives will search for as many
avenues as possible to nail down their man. And that is also the best way
to do good science. The more independent ways you can nail down
what is going on, the better.

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Received on Tue Sep 12 01:26:38 2006

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