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Awesome read: Forensic/Science Accuracy .

This is a British Commonwealth legal review of forensic expertism. Many nuggets of prior cases and judge-like opines are presented. The article also appreciates the contribution of US law profs Risinger, Saks, and Thompson’s activities in articulating the insidious presence “observer effects” in experts’ testimony and conclusions. (page 222, fn 37) 

excerpt: “Before a court can assess the value of an opinion it must know the facts upon which it is based … It is wrong to leave the other side to elicit the facts by cross-examination.”

An illustrative quote on forensic opinion-makers courtroom verbiage inciting their “science” to a non-science audience. 

excerpt: “As an example, the degrees of certainty, which are misleadingly referred to as “confidence intervals” by practitioners of barefoot morphology are as follows:

• “Insufficient Detail” – when there is not enough detail or clarity.

• “Support” – agreement or disagreement of details, such as the overall size, the location of the toe pads, but lack of sufficient quantity and or clarity.

• “Strong Support” – agreement or disagreement of all the detail, such as overall size, shape and location of the toe pads, contour of the metatarsal ridge, and the contour of the ball of the foot, but with a lack of sharp detail.

• “Did Make” – agreement of all detail, such as the overall size, shape and location of the toe pads, contour of the metatarsal ridge and the contour of the ball of the foot, sharp edge detail, in combination with random accidental characteristics (damage to the foot, flexion creases etc.)

• “Did Not Make” – contains clear detail that shows without doubt that the impression was not made by the individual in question. While there is a strong logical argument that the “Did Not Make” category has a scientific basis, since one missing element, or an additional one such as polydactyly, can disprove a hypothesis the category

“Did Make” is also absolute. This, for the reasons advanced earlier, cannot be supported from a logical or statistical perspective. “

About csidds

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