I haven't seen it yet, tho it is on the DVR. I'm currently working my way thru Giannelli's new article on the NAS report and its reception.http://ssrn.com/abstract=2039024
kevin wrote: I think the problem with fingerprints in (defense) lawyer's minds is that it potentially ties a suspect to a scene or item. Lawyers have so many 'outs' (cross contamination being one) with DNA, trace, and qualtitative analysis that are not possible with fingerprints. You just don't have those 'outs' with fingerprints ergo these studies on confirmation bias, reproducibility, is it a true science?, did you compare everyone in the world to this print?, etc. I think Gerald posted once saying if defense really thought the print didn't belong to their client they would simply call one of the couple hundred private examiners and present that in court. But the payoff for that kind of move isn't there so it hardly ever happens. It is more productive to attack the science.
It is MUCH harder to attack the science than to just hire a defense expert to disagree. I've had a judge look over his glasses at me and say, something to the effect of "Ms. Steele, are you seriously asking me to accept that what Mr. X [senior guy at the state lab] has been telling me for over a decade isn't so?" There are well-known problems with cross-exam. Having someone who isn't experts in a field try to elicit technical information in a question-and-answer format, while another non-expert interrupts to complain about the form or basis of a question is one of the worst ways to convey that information to an audience of non-experts. And we know from various studies, particularly in the mistaken ID area, that cross-exam is ineffective at dealing with the good-faith mistake -- if the examiner is honestly testifying about what he or she genuinely believes, which I think most experts are, it is really hard to bring out that possible mistake. The other problem is the Mayfield one where Ken Moses was the court-appointed expert and missed the Mayfield mistake too. A defense expert may not find a mistake because of his or her own biases and assumptions -- if nothing else, the expert likely gets the material knowing that someone made an ID, and likely which agency or person made it.
RM1023 wrote:My favorite quote was from one of the lawyers saying that judges and lawyers are scientifically illiterate, so someone "upstream" needs to be in charge.
Let’s face it, many lawyers and judges have little or no formal training in science. And those who are interested in it can’t possibly be familiar with all the forensics, medical, and psychological issues that can come up in a criminal case. So we have to trust you folks to get it right – and that’s why there’s a call for better credentials and accreditation, uniform procedures, independent oversight, validation studies, and a transparent investigation process when there is a complaint.