Proficiency of Experts

A new paper by Greg Mitchell and I, forthcoming next year in Penn. L. Rev., and available as of today on SSRN here.  The abstract is below and our thesis can be summarized very briefly: expertise = proficiency. Expert evidence plays a crucial role in civil and criminal litigation. Changes in the rules concerning expert […]

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ProPublic Seeks FST Software

From the Fair Punishment Project newsletter today: ProPublica Seeks Source Code for New York City’s Disputed DNA Software. From 2011 to this year, the New York City Medical Examiner analyzed DNA from 1,350 criminal cases with the use of software called Forensic Statistical Tool (FST). Though known as a pioneer in analyzing the most difficult […]

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AAAS Fingerprint Report

The AAAS released a lengthy Latent Fingerprint Examination Report: The report includes 14 recommendations.  Here they are: 1. Resources should be devoted to further research on possible quantitative methods for estimating the probative value or weight of fingerprint evidence. 2. Resources should also be devoted to further research on the performance of latent fingerprint […]

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Discovering Forensic Fraud

A great new piece by Jennifer Oliva and Valena Beety forthcoming in Northwestern U. L. Rev. describing the need to revamp discovery regarding forensic evidence in criminal cases.  A link is here and the abstract is below: This piece posits that certain structural dynamics, which dominate criminal proceedings, significantly contribute to the admissibility of faulty […]

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Daubert’s Failure

A wonderful new piece forthcoming in Case Western Reserve Law Review, from Paul Giannelli.  Here is a link and the abstract is below: In 2015, a federal judge noted that “[m]any defendants have been convicted and spent countless years in prison based on evidence by arson experts who were later shown to be little better […]

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Two Techniques Used by NYC Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to Analyze DNA Mixtures Discontinued

The New York Times reports that two techniques used by the office of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner to analyze DNA mixtures have been discontinued. The lab had a national reputation for using techniques surpassing those used by the FBI, analyzing samples from jurisdictions around the country for about $1,000 per sample. Although multiple former […]

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“Emperor of Junk Science” Dies in Apparent Murder-Suicide

The Washington Post reports that Robert O’Block, who founded the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute (“ACFEI”), committed suicide in late July after apparently murdering his girlfriend. The ACFEI, which is one of the largest forensics certification bodies in the United States, has been criticized over the years for collecting fees from members without thoroughly […]

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