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On The 'Considered Analysis' Of Collecting Dna Before Conviction, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

On The 'Considered Analysis' Of Collecting Dna Before Conviction, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

For nearly a decade, DNA-on-arrest laws eluded scrutiny in the courts. For another five years, they withstood a gathering storm of constitutional challenges. In Maryland v. King, however, Maryland's highest court reasoned that usually fingerprints provide everything police need to establish the true identity of an individual before trial and that the state's interest in finding the perpetrators of crimes by trawling databases of DNA profiles is too "generalized" to support "a warrantless, suspicionless search." The U.S. Supreme Court reacted forcefully. Chief Justice Roberts stayed the Maryland judgment, writing that "given the considered analysis of courts on ...


Please, Let's Bury The Junk: The Codis Loci And The Revelation Of Private Information, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Please, Let's Bury The Junk: The Codis Loci And The Revelation Of Private Information, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

This Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy paper describes the four possible ways in which genetic loci could possess predictive or diagnostic value with regard to diseases and explains why these mechanisms have not led, and probably cannot lead, to useful screening tests with the Convicted Offender DNA Index System (CODIS) profiles in national, state, and local databases. It then considers the phenotypes and familial relationships that the CODIS STRs can be used to identify. The profiles carry limited information about an individual's race and familial relationships, and the article places the resulting privacy issues in perspective. Finally, the paper ...


Paradoxes, Gedanken Experiments And The Burden Of Proof: A Response To Dr. Cohen's Reply, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Paradoxes, Gedanken Experiments And The Burden Of Proof: A Response To Dr. Cohen's Reply, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

This article responds to L. Jonathan Cohen's critique of the author's position regarding the problem of naked statistical evidence. Cohen argues that the kind of probability at work in litigation does not conform to the axioms of mathematical probability. The author responds by suggesting that the familiar theory of probability needs no revision to account for the reluctance of a few courts to permit plaintiffs to prevail on the strength of background statistics alone. One need not adopt Dr. Cohen's esoteric mathematical structure to explain the burden of proof in civil cases. The article shows that whether ...


Probability Theory Meets Res Ipsa Loquitor, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Probability Theory Meets Res Ipsa Loquitor, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Day in and day out, attorneys, judges, and jurors must estimate probabilities. To be sure, we rarely quantify such estimates of probability and almost never adopt the terminology and mathematics of probability theory to resolve matters. Nevertheless, the mathematical theory of probability can be applied to legal problems in various ways. This article uses probability theory normatively in an effort to clarify one aspect of the famous tort doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur. While not urging that jurors be instructed in probability theory or be equipped with microprocessors, it does seek an accurate statement of the res ipsa doctrine ...


Plemel As A Primer On Proving Paternity, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Plemel As A Primer On Proving Paternity, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Although in the past courts only permitted genetic evidence in paternity suits to prove that an accused man was not the father, with the advent of new genetic tests, which easily can exclude ninety to nitey-five percent of the population in most cases, the supreme courts of Massachusetts, Oregon, and Utah have held that various genetic tests may be used to prove paternity. While a positive move, the admissibility of genetic proof of paternity raises serious questions as to the manner in which this evidence should be presented in court. In the interests of efficiency, some jurisdictions seem to dispense ...


Probability, Individualization, And Uniqueness In Forensic Science Evidence: Listening To The Academies, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Probability, Individualization, And Uniqueness In Forensic Science Evidence: Listening To The Academies, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Day in and day out, criminalists testify to positive, uniquely specific identifications of fingerprints, bullets, handwriting, and other trace evidence. A committee of the National Academy of Sciences, building on the writing of academic commentators, has called for sweeping changes in the presentation and production of evidence of identification. These include some form of circumscribed and standardized testimony. But the Academy report is short on the specifics of the testimony that would be legally and professionally allowable. This essay outlines possible types of testimony that might harmonize the testimony of criminalists with the actual state of forensic science. It does ...


Maryland V. King: Per Se Unreasonableness, The Golden Rule, And The Future Of Dna Databases, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Maryland V. King: Per Se Unreasonableness, The Golden Rule, And The Future Of Dna Databases, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

In Maryland v. King, the Supreme Court applied a balancing test to uphold a Maryland statute mandating preconviction collection and analysis of DNA from individuals charged with certain crimes. The DNA profiles are limited to an inherited set of DNA sequences that are not known to be functional and that are tokens of individual identity. This invited online essay examines two aspects of an article on the case by Professor Erin Murphy. I question the claim that the case is pivotal in a conceivable abandonment of the per se rule that warrantless, suspicionless searches are unconstitutional unless they fall within ...


Identification, Individualization, Uniqueness, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Identification, Individualization, Uniqueness, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Criminalists and many forensic scientists concerned with the identification of trace evidence have distinguished between identification and individualization, but they have not distinguished as precisely between individualization and uniqueness. This paper clarifies these terms and discusses the relationships among identification, individualization, and uniqueness in forensic-science evidence.


Mathematical Models And Legal Realities: Some Comments On The Poisson Model Of Jury Behavior, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Mathematical Models And Legal Realities: Some Comments On The Poisson Model Of Jury Behavior, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

While a mathematical model cannot reflect all the elements of reality, modeling involves drastic simplifications, and those expounding the mathematical model would recognize the complexity of the elements. This article illuminates this cause with a mathematical model that seems to be in vogue, developed by the renowned mathematician Simeon Poisson. It reviews the Poisson model in order to enucleate its many assumptions. It also explains why these assumptions may introduce serious errors into the probabilities calculated according to the model. It also indicates one reason that even a relatively error free model would have limited usefulness in resolving the constitutional ...


Drawing Lines: Unrelated Probable Cause As A Prerequisite To Early Dna Collection, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Drawing Lines: Unrelated Probable Cause As A Prerequisite To Early Dna Collection, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Swabbing the inside of a cheek has become part of the custodial arrest process in many jurisdictions. The majority view (thus far) is that routinely collecting DNA before conviction (and analyzing it, recording the results, and comparing them to DNA profiles from crime-scene databases) is consistent with Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. However, some judges and commentators have argued that DNA sampling in advance of a determination by a judge or grand jury of probable cause for the arrest or charge is unconstitutional. This essay shows that this demand is largely unfounded. Either warrantless, suspicionless DNA collection ...


Do We Need A Calculus Of Weight To Understand Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt?, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Do We Need A Calculus Of Weight To Understand Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt?, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

The commentary on a paper by L.J. Cohen, prepared for a symposium on probability and inference in the law of evidence, shows that the legal requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt can be understood simply as demanding a sufficiently high probability that the prosecution's narrative or story of the facts, which captures all the elements of the offense, is true. No separate measure of the "weight" of the totality of the evidence is required to understand the burden of persuasion. Any incompleteness in the evidence can be accounted for by a conditional probability that includes the presence ...


Case Comment - People V. Nelson: A Tale Of Two Statistics, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Case Comment - People V. Nelson: A Tale Of Two Statistics, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

In recent years, defendants who were identified as a result of a search through a database of DNA profiles have argued that the probability that a randomly selected person would match a crime-scene stain overstates the probative value of the match. The statistical literature is divided, with most statisticians who have written on the subject rejecting this claim. In People v. Nelson, the Supreme Court of California held that when the random-match probability is so small as to make it exceedingly unlikely that any unrelated individual has the incriminating DNA profile, this statistic is admissible in a database-search case. In ...


Dna Evidence: Probability, Population Genetics, And The Courts, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Dna Evidence: Probability, Population Genetics, And The Courts, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

To help meet the challenge of presenting properly performed DNA tests within the post-Daubert legal framework, this article outlines the statistical procedures that have been employed or proposed to provide judges and juries with quantitative measures of probative value, describes more fully how the courts have dealt with these procedures, and evaluates the opinions and the statistical analyses from the standpoint of the law of evidence.

Specifically, the article outlines the procedure used to declare whether two samples of DNA "match," and how shrinking the size of the "match window," as some defendants have urged, will decrease the risk of ...


Gina's Genotypes, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Gina's Genotypes, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

In August 2009, the Board of Trustees of the University of Akron added to the university's employment policy the following proviso: "any applicant may be asked to submit fingerprints or DNA sample for purpose of a federal criminal background check." Although the federal government does not do background checks with DNA, the policy is significant because it highlights a largely unexplored feature of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). GINA generally prohibits employers from asking for "genetic information." The faculty senate and outside commentators have declared that the Akron policy is "of doubtful legality" because it "appears ...


Is Proof Of Statistical Significance Relevant?, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Is Proof Of Statistical Significance Relevant?, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

The classic treatises on evidence note that the court or jury must weigh the evidence, and upon weighing it, determine whether the plaintiff or the defendant prevails. Some courts, however, have indicated that statistical evidence should not be admitted unless it is subjected to a procedure known as 'hypothesis testing.' There are many rather mechanical procedures for performing these tests and a number of judges, attorneys, and law professors have suggested that hypothesis testing provides an objective, scientific means of settling disputed questions on which statistical evidence is brought to bear. Yet, many circumstances arise in which courts or administrators ...


Behavioral Genetics Research And Criminal Dna Databanks, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Behavioral Genetics Research And Criminal Dna Databanks, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

This article examines the current concerns about whether DNA databases may be used for actions other than to apprehend criminals, such as genetic research, in particular, searching for a "crime gene". Part II considers the perspective that these databases may be useful for research. The information within a DNA sample consists of a limited number of DNA base-pair variations, which are important to identification, but not necessarily to genetic research. However, while it may be difficult to conduct genetic research, it is not impossible. Part III examines state and federal database legislation. There are examples of three states' statutes and ...


A Fourth Amendment Theory For Arrestee Dna And Other Biometric Databases, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

A Fourth Amendment Theory For Arrestee Dna And Other Biometric Databases, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Routine DNA sampling following a custodial arrest process is now the norm in many jurisdictions, but is it consistent with the Fourth Amendment? The few courts that have addressed the question have disagreed on the answer, but all of them seem to agree on two points: (1) the reasonableness of the practice turns on a direct form of balancing of individual and governmental interests; and (2) individuals who are convicted — and even those who are merely arrested — have a greatly diminished expectation of privacy in their identities. This Article disputes these propositions and offers an improved framework for analyzing the ...


Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

For over 130 years, scientific sleuths have been inspecting hairs under microscopes. Late in 2012, the FBI, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined forces to review thousands of microscopic hair comparisons performed by FBI examiners over several of those decades. The results have been astounding. Based on the first few hundred cases in which hairs were said to match, it appears that examiners “exceeded the limits of science” in over 90% of their reports or testimony. The disclosure of this statistic has led to charges that the FBI “faked an entire field of forensic ...


'False But Highly Persuasive:' How Wrong Were The Probability Estimates In Mcdaniel V. Brown?, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

'False But Highly Persuasive:' How Wrong Were The Probability Estimates In Mcdaniel V. Brown?, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

In McDaniel v. Brown, the Supreme Court will review the use of DNA evidence in a 1994 trial for sexual assault and attempted murder. The Court granted certiorari to consider two procedural issues - the standard of federal postconviction review of a state jury verdict for sufficiency of the evidence, and the district court's decision to allow the prisoner to supplement the record of trials, appeals, and state postconviction proceedings with a geneticist's letter twelve years after the trial.

This essay clarifies the nature and extent of the errors in the presentation of the DNA evidence in Brown. It ...


Chimeric Criminals, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Chimeric Criminals, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

According to the book Genetic Justice: DNA Databanks, Criminal Investigations, and Civil Liberties — described as “the single most comprehensive articulation of the civil-liberties concerns associated with law-enforcement DNA databases,” “a series of measured arguments,” and “a touchstone for debates about the spread of DNA profiling” — an obscure genetic condition known as chimerism “could undermine the very basis of the forensic DNA system” and force a reconsideration of “the entire project of forensic DNA.” This conclusion is as unfounded as it is unnerving. Chimerism is a consideration in, but not a real obstacle to DNA identification. This essay explains why.


Credal Probability, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Credal Probability, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

This article responds to Paul Bergman and Al Moore's doubt that ideal triers of facts would be Bayesians. They argue that Bayes' rule, and probability theory in general, fails as a theoretical factfinding model. While probability has long been an accepted measure of belief in empirical propositions and the validity of inductive arguments, this articles addresses Bergman and Moore's doubts directly. It shows how their examples demonstrating the "frequentist" character of Bayesian methodology or the fallacies in Bayesian analysis are easily handled without a frequentist interpretation of probability. Then it shows that an ideal juror's partial beliefs ...


Dna Database Trawls And The Definition Of A Search In Boroian V. Mueller, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Dna Database Trawls And The Definition Of A Search In Boroian V. Mueller, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

As a general matter, once the government acquires information from a permissible search or seizure, it can use this information in later criminal investigations. Courts have applied this simple rule to uphold the indefinite reuse of DNA samples acquired from convicted offenders. This essay describes the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ reliance on the rule in rejecting a convicted offender’s claim that his DNA sample and profile had to be removed from the federal DNA databank after he completed his sentence. Acknowledging that the rule permitting reuse should not be applied mechanically, I argue that the rule's application ...


Congressional Papers And Judicial Subpoenas And The Constitution, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Congressional Papers And Judicial Subpoenas And The Constitution, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Some contemporary Congresses have lost sight of the original scope of their predecessors' assertions of privilege and now claim an absolute privilege to withhold both the originals and copies of subpoenaed papers. A few judicial opinions suggest as much or more. It is possible that even cursorily documented, ill-considered dicta can take root and flourish, and to prevent that, this article This article charts the constitutional boundaries of Congress' privilege to withhold its internal papers from judicial subpoena. It surveys the privileges expressly given Congress in the text of the Constitution as well as the privileges that might be implied ...


The Pitfalls Of Empirical Research: Studying Faculty Publication Studies, David H. Kaye, Ira Mark Ellman Mar 2016

The Pitfalls Of Empirical Research: Studying Faculty Publication Studies, David H. Kaye, Ira Mark Ellman

David Kaye

This article critiques empirical studies by attorneys in the hopes that they will be held to the minimal standards of research competence that are to be found in other academic fields which rely on empirical studies. Because law-trained scholars are notoriously weak at empirical research, this article identifies some of the methodological considerations that should inform empirical research. These fall into four broad categories: (1) problems of conceptualization, (2) problems of measurement, (3) problems of data presentation and analysis, and (4) problems of inference. This article examines all of these considerations in the context of an empirical survey done by ...


Thinking Like A Statistician: The Report Of The American Statistical Association Committee On Training In Statistics In Selected Professions, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Thinking Like A Statistician: The Report Of The American Statistical Association Committee On Training In Statistics In Selected Professions, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

In 1983, a subcommittee of the American Statistical Association composed of legal educators and one judge issued a report describing existing programs for educating law students in statistics and offering recommendations for improving these programs. This article summarizes that report.


Statistical Significance And The Burden Of Persuasion, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Statistical Significance And The Burden Of Persuasion, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

In most endeavors concerned with the acquisition of knowledge, quantitative information is welcomed. In law, however, it appears sometimes that scientific or numerical evidence makes cases harder, not easier. Nevertheless, there are many cases and administrative proceedings, in such areas as environmental law, food and drug regulation, and civil rights, in which statistical data obtained by observation or experiment are readily accepted as assisting in the proper resolution of disputed issues of fact. When courts or administrators confront scientific and statistical evidence in these proceedings, they are not always certain of how to weigh the evidence or whether they should ...


How Good Is Good Enough?: Expert Evidence Under Daubert And Kuhmo, David H. Kaye, David L. Faigman, Michael J. Saks, Joseph Sanders Mar 2016

How Good Is Good Enough?: Expert Evidence Under Daubert And Kuhmo, David H. Kaye, David L. Faigman, Michael J. Saks, Joseph Sanders

David Kaye

This essay is a response to Professor Edward Imwinkelried's article, "Should the Courts Incorporate a Best Evidence Rule into the Standard Determining the Admissibility of Scientific Testimony?: Enough is Enough When it is not the Best." The authors have two basic points. First, the authors wish to make it clear that they never proposed the "best evidence rule" that he so vigorously attacks, and they think his suggestion that they did so is strained. Second, they wish to reiterate that courts sometimes should do more than they have to ensure that expert testimony is reasonably sound. The important debate ...


Cell Phones, Brain Cancer, And Scientific Outliers In Murray V. Motorola, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Cell Phones, Brain Cancer, And Scientific Outliers In Murray V. Motorola, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

Pending before the District of Columbia's highest court in a case asking whether cell phones can cause cancer is whether to replace the jurisdiction's venerable Frye standard for reviewing the admissibility of scientific evidence with the approach adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow. The author analyzes one aspect of the two evidentiary standards that leads him to question the trial judge's suggestion in Murray v. Motorola that adopting the Daubert perspective would allow greater leeway in excluding the plaintiff's evidence.


Confronting Science: Expert Evidence And The Confrontation Clause, David H. Kaye, Jennifer L. Mnookin Mar 2016

Confronting Science: Expert Evidence And The Confrontation Clause, David H. Kaye, Jennifer L. Mnookin

David Kaye

In Crawford v Washington, the Supreme Court substantially changed its understanding of how the Confrontation Clause applies to hearsay evidence. Since then, the Court has issued three bitterly contested expert-evidence-related Confrontation Clause decisions, and each one has generated at least as many questions as answers. This article analyzes this trilogy of cases, especially the most recent, Williams v Illinois.

In Williams, the Court issued a bewildering array of opinions in which majority support for admitting the opinion of a DNA analyst about tests that she did not perform was awkwardly knitted together out of several incompatible doctrinal bases. The most ...


Choice And Boundary Problems In Logerquist, Hummert, And Kumho Tire, David H. Kaye Mar 2016

Choice And Boundary Problems In Logerquist, Hummert, And Kumho Tire, David H. Kaye

David Kaye

This article, part of a symposium on the opinion of the Arizona Supreme Court in Logerquist v. McVey, questions that court’s rationales for refusing to apply heightened scrutiny to psychiatric testimony about the retrieval of repressed memories. It also challenges the court’s use of a “personal observations” exception to the heightened scrutiny standard of Frye v. United States. It proposes that a better solution to problems of scientific and expert evidence would be to adopt a sliding scale that attends to the use to which the evidence is put and the degree to which it has been shown ...