The “Reverse CSI Effect” and imperfect aspects of LCN DNA ignored ; The Marshall Project

The best journalism on this subject I have so far seen in print. From the Marshall Project

Comments:

It describes the influence of DNA popularity with juries juries amounting to I call a “Reverse CSI Effect.” The original CSI effect (according to prosecutors) being juries expecting more TV-like forensic sci evidence before rendering a guilty verdict. The “reverse” is juries’s incredibly high belief in DNA accuracy when it does show up in criminal trials.

This article looks at the other side of that coin,

It tells the tale of interpretative limits of Low Cell Number mixed DNA specimens, and the nether world of poor evidence preservation, bio-interpretation disagreement, expectational bias, and the unsettling disparity in DNA profiling options and standards.

Juries don’t seem to understand how “amped up DNA” taken from a low number of cells and the use of diverse testing “assumptions” leads to diasagreement and doubts regarding its reliability.

The article clearly says that RMP studies within multiple law enforcement run databases are frowned upon or outright considered secret. The scant look that IS available should influence a layman to wonder further about weaknesses in certain aspects.

Even committees of experts within the field take a dim view of each other. Barry Scheck has a substantial quote.

My layman view is that LCN DNA reliability may be useful for suspect elimination.

Here’s a short excerpt.

“In the three decades since DNA emerged as a forensic tool, courts have rarely been skeptical about its power.”

Read about how much controversy and disagreement actually exists in the “gold standard” for identification. 

 

 

 

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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