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Faculty Publications

Evidence

Forensic Science

Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Law

Forensic Science Evidence And The Limits Of Cross-Examination, Gary Edmond, Emma Cunliffe, Kristy Martire, Mehera San Roque Jul 2019

Forensic Science Evidence And The Limits Of Cross-Examination, Gary Edmond, Emma Cunliffe, Kristy Martire, Mehera San Roque

Faculty Publications

The ability to confront witnesses through cross-examination is conventionally understood as the most powerful means of testing evidence, and one of the most important features of the adversarial trial. Popularly feted, cross-examination was immortalised in John Henry Wigmore’s (1863–1943) famous dictum that it is ‘the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth’. Through a detailed review of the cross-examination of a forensic scientist, in the first scientifically-informed challenge to latent fingerprint evidence in Australia, this article offers a more modest assessment of its value. Drawing upon mainstream scientific research and advice, and contrasting scientific knowledge ...


Confrontation, Experts, And Rule 703, Paul C. Giannelli Jan 2012

Confrontation, Experts, And Rule 703, Paul C. Giannelli

Faculty Publications

The United States Supreme Court has decided several cases concerning expert testimony and the Confrontation Clause. This essay argues that confrontation issues are complicated by Federal Evidence Rules 73 and 75, which changed the common law rules. Altering the common law made sense in civil cases because civil rules of procedure provide extensive discovery, which ensures basic fairness. In contrast, discovery in criminal cases is quite limited, which undercuts an accused’s ability to meaningfully confront prosecution experts at trial.


Independent Crime Laboratories: The Problem Of Motivational And Cognitive Bias, Paul C. Giannelli Jan 2010

Independent Crime Laboratories: The Problem Of Motivational And Cognitive Bias, Paul C. Giannelli

Faculty Publications

One of the most controversial recommendations in the National Academy of Sciences report on forensic science — Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: The Path Forward — concerns the removal of crime laboratories from the administrative control of law enforcement agencies. For decades scholars have commented on the “inbred bias of crime laboratories affiliated with law enforcement agencies.” Some commentators have proposed independent laboratories as the remedy for this problem, and in 22, the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Capital Punishment proposed the establishment of an independent state crime laboratory. This essay documents the problems that triggered the NAS Report’s ...


Forensic Science: Why No Research?, Paul C. Giannelli Jan 2010

Forensic Science: Why No Research?, Paul C. Giannelli

Faculty Publications

The National Academy of Sciences ground-breaking report on forensic science – Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward – raised numerous issues. One dominant theme that runs throughout the Report is the failure of some forensic science disciplines to comport with fundamental scientific principles – in particular, to support claims with empirical research. The Report observed that “some forensic science disciplines are supported by little rigorous systematic research to validate the discipline’s basic premises and techniques. There is no evident reason why such research cannot be conducted.”

The Report went on to identify fingerprint examinations, firearms (ballistics) and toolmark ...


The Nrc Report And Its Implications For Criminal Litigation, Paul C. Giannelli Jan 2009

The Nrc Report And Its Implications For Criminal Litigation, Paul C. Giannelli

Faculty Publications

The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a landmark report on forensic science in February 2009. In the long run, the report’s recommendations, if adopted, would benefit law enforcement and prosecutors. The recommendations would allow forensic science to develop a strong scientific basis and limit evidentiary challenges regarding the reliability of forensic evidence. In keeping with its congressional charge, however, the NRC Committee did not directly address admissibility issues. Nevertheless, given its content, the report will inevitably be cited in criminal cases. Indeed, within months, the United States Supreme Court cited the report ...