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How Daubert And Its Progeny Have Failed Criminalistics Evidence And A Few Things The Judiciary Could Do About It, David H. Kaye Jan 2018

How Daubert And Its Progeny Have Failed Criminalistics Evidence And A Few Things The Judiciary Could Do About It, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

A recent report of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology questioned the validity of several types of criminalistics identification evidence and recommended “a best practices manual and an Advisory Committee note, providing guidance to Federal judges concerning the admissibility under Rule 702 of expert testimony based on forensic feature-comparison methods.” This article supplies information on why and how judicial bodies concerned with possible rules changes—and courts applying the current rules—can improve their regulation of criminalistics identification evidence. First, it describes how courts have failed to faithfully apply Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical’s criteria ...


Firearm-Mark Evidence: Looking Back And Looking Ahead, David H. Kaye Jan 2018

Firearm-Mark Evidence: Looking Back And Looking Ahead, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

This article, written as a contribution to a festschrift for Paul Giannelli, surveys the development of the law on one type of feature-matching evidence that repeatedly attracted Professor Giannelli’s attention — “firearm-mark evidence.” By inspecting toolmarks on bullets or spent cartridge cases, firearms examiners can supply valuable information on whether a particular gun fired the ammunition in question. But the limits on this information have not always been respected in court, and a growing number of opinions have tried to address this fact.

The article explains how the courts have moved from a position of skepticism of the ability of ...


Hypothesis Testing In Law And Forensic Science: A Memorandum, David H. Kaye Jan 2017

Hypothesis Testing In Law And Forensic Science: A Memorandum, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

The Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC), was established to promote and develop forensic-science standards based on sound scientific principles. One of the first standards to be approved deals with declaring fragments of glass to be either distinguishable or indistinguishable in their chemical composition. This determination is important when it is suspected that small fragments associated with a defendant came from the scene of a crime involving broken glass. Because of instrumental measurement error, even fragments with identical elemental concentrations will display some differences. To account for measurement error, the standard uses statistical hypothesis tests that presume ...


Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye Jan 2015

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Cell Phones, Brain Cancer, And Scientific Outliers In Murray V. Motorola, David H. Kaye Jan 2015

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

Journal Articles

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.


On The 'Considered Analysis' Of Collecting Dna Before Conviction, David H. Kaye Jan 2013

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Maryland V. King: Per Se Unreasonableness, The Golden Rule, And The Future Of Dna Databases, David H. Kaye Jan 2013

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


A Fourth Amendment Theory For Arrestee Dna And Other Biometric Databases, David H. Kaye Jan 2013

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Confronting Science: Expert Evidence And The Confrontation Clause, David H. Kaye, Jennifer L. Mnookin Jan 2013

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Intended Parents And The Problem Of Perspective, Dara Purvis Jan 2012

Intended Parents And The Problem Of Perspective, Dara Purvis

Journal Articles

When asked to identify the legal parents of a child, traditional family law principles look backwards in time, primarily to biology and to marriage. People using assisted reproductive technologies such as surrogacy, however, seek to manifest their intent to become parents with a forward-looking temporal perspective, before a child is conceived and born. Of the existing doctrines used to identify parentage – marital presumption, biology, functional theories, and intent – only intent facilitates a forward-looking perspective. Intent through time, however, is not treated consistently. A woman, for example, may donate an egg, and may place a baby up for adoption, but generally ...


Patenting Genes And Genetic Methods: What’S At Stake?, Eileen M. Kane Jan 2011

Patenting Genes And Genetic Methods: What’S At Stake?, Eileen M. Kane

Journal Articles

The emergence of genetic medicine following decades of molecular biology research has been accompanied by the procurement of patent rights to many medically significant genes and methods for their use. The intellectual force of reductionism in the life sciences – to explain biological phenomena with molecular precision – generates direct conflicts with patent law’s exclusion of basic knowledge from patenting: laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas must remain in the public domain. This is a period of renewed attention to the issue of patentable subject matter in the life sciences, with a particular focus on genetic patenting. Patents have ...


Unraveling The Exclusionary Rule: From Leon To Herring To Robinson - And Back?, David H. Kaye Jan 2011

Unraveling The Exclusionary Rule: From Leon To Herring To Robinson - And Back?, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

The Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule began to unravel in United States v. Leon. The facts were compelling. Why exclude reliable physical evidence from trial when it was not the constable who blundered, but “a detached and neutral magistrate” who misjudged whether probable cause was present and issued a search warrant? Later cases applied the exception for “good faith” mistakes to a police officer who, pursuing a grudge against a suspect, arrested and searched him and his truck on the basis of a false and negligent report from a clerk in another county of an outstand­ing arrest warrant. The California ...


Dna Database Trawls And The Definition Of A Search In Boroian V. Mueller, David H. Kaye Jan 2011

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Probability, Individualization, And Uniqueness In Forensic Science Evidence: Listening To The Academies, David H. Kaye Jan 2010

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Gina's Genotypes, David H. Kaye Jan 2010

Gina's Genotypes, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

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 ...


Trawling Dna Databases For Partial Matches: What Is The Fbi Afraid Of?, David H. Kaye Jan 2009

Trawling Dna Databases For Partial Matches: What Is The Fbi Afraid Of?, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

DNA evidence is often presented as the “gold standard” for forensic science. But this was not always the case. For years, eminent scientists complained that the estimates of the tiny frequencies of DNA types were unfounded. It took scores of research papers, dozens of judicial opinions, and two committees of the National Academy of Sciences to resolve the dispute by the mid-1990s. Since 2000, however, reports have surfaced of shocking numbers of “partial matches” among samples within large DNA databases, and some scientists have complained that the infinitesimal figures used in court to estimate the probability of a random match ...


Identification, Individualization, Uniqueness, David H. Kaye Jan 2009

Identification, Individualization, Uniqueness, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

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.


'False But Highly Persuasive:' How Wrong Were The Probability Estimates In Mcdaniel V. Brown?, David H. Kaye Jan 2009

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Rounding Up The Usual Suspects: A Logical And Legal Analysis Of Dna Trawling Cases, David H. Kaye Jan 2009

Rounding Up The Usual Suspects: A Logical And Legal Analysis Of Dna Trawling Cases, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

Courts are beginning to confront a problem that has divided the scientific community - whether identifying a defendant by fishing through a database of DNA types to find a match to a crime-scene sample reduces the significance of a match. For years, the problem seemed academic. Now that the U.S. has more than five million DNA profiles from convicted offenders and suspects in a national, computer-searchable database, the question has assumed more urgency. Increasingly, individuals are being charged with crimes as a result of a match between their recorded profile and the DNA from a victim or scene of a ...


Case Comment - People V. Nelson: A Tale Of Two Statistics, David H. Kaye Jan 2008

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Please, Let's Bury The Junk: The Codis Loci And The Revelation Of Private Information, David H. Kaye Jan 2007

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


The Science Of Dna Identification: From The Laboratory To The Courtroom (And Beyond), David H. Kaye Jan 2007

The Science Of Dna Identification: From The Laboratory To The Courtroom (And Beyond), David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

This article focuses on sequences of DNA base-pairs, which are becoming increasingly important in the field of law. These DNA sequences are used by forensic scientists to discover evidence such as blood stains, semen, saliva, and hair, and has become highly useful in the courtroom with regard to exonerating the innocent and convicting the guilty. Part I of the article examines how courts may (or may not) admit DNA evidence in court through four phases: uncritical acceptance; serious challenges to analytical methods and statistical interpretation of the results; renewed acceptance of DNA evidence; and acceptance of advance systems of DNA ...


Behavioral Genetics Research And Criminal Dna Databanks, David H. Kaye Jan 2006

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


Dna Identification Databases: Legality, Legitimacy, And The Case For Population-Wide Coverage, David H. Kaye, Michael E. Smith Jan 2003

Dna Identification Databases: Legality, Legitimacy, And The Case For Population-Wide Coverage, David H. Kaye, Michael E. Smith

Journal Articles

Over the past decade, law enforcement authorities have amassed huge collections of DNA samples and the identifying profiles derived from them. Large DNA databanks routinely help to identify the guilty and to exonerate the innocent, but as the databanks grow, so do fears about civil liberties. Perhaps the most controversial policy issue in the creation of these databases is the question of coverage: Whose DNA profiles should be stored in them? The possibilities extend from convicted violent sex offenders to all convicted felons, to everyone arrested, to the entire population. This Article questions the rationales for drawing the line at ...


Two Fallacies About Dna Data Banks For Law Enforcement, David H. Kaye Jan 2001

Two Fallacies About Dna Data Banks For Law Enforcement, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

This commentary on the article Legal and Policy Issues in Expanding the Scope of Law Enforcement DNA Data Banks, 67 Brook. L. Rev. 127 (2001), by Mark Rothstein and Sandra Carnahan, argues that the case for confining law enforcement DNA databases to noncoding loci and to samples from individuals convicted of violent crimes is quite weak.

It describes alternative approaches, including the possibility of a population-wide database; the privacy implications of the loci now used in forensic identification; the law governing DNA dragnets; and the limits on DNA databases imposed by recent cases on searches and seizures. It notes the ...


The Dynamics Of Daubert: Methodology, Conclusions, And Fit In Statistical And Econometric Studies, David H. Kaye Jan 2001

The Dynamics Of Daubert: Methodology, Conclusions, And Fit In Statistical And Econometric Studies, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

This paper reviews the development of the law governing the admissibility of statistical studies. It analyzes the leading cases on scientific evidence and suggests that both the "reliability" and the "general acceptance" standards raise two major difficulties - the "boundary problem" of identifying the type of evidence that warrants careful screening and the "usurpation problem" of keeping the trial judge from closing the gate on evidence that should be left for the jury to assess.

The paper proposes partial solutions to these problems, and it applies them to statistical and econometric proof, particularly in the context of a recent antitrust case ...


Dna Typing: Emerging Or Neglected Issues, David H. Kaye, Edward J. Imwinkelried Jan 2001

Dna Typing: Emerging Or Neglected Issues, David H. Kaye, Edward J. Imwinkelried

Journal Articles

DNA typing has had a major impact on the criminal justice system. There are hundreds of opinions and thousands of cases dealing with DNA evidence. Yet, at virtually every stage of the process, there are important issues that are just emerging or that have been neglected.

At the investigative stage, courts have barely begun to focus on the legal limitations on the power of the police to obtain samples directly from suspects and to use the data from DNA samples in various ways. Issues such as the propriety of "DNA dragnets" (in which large numbers of individuals in a geographic ...


Choice And Boundary Problems In Logerquist, Hummert, And Kumho Tire, David H. Kaye Jan 2001

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

Journal Articles

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 ...


The Constitutionality Of Dna Sampling On Arrest, David H. Kaye Jan 2001

The Constitutionality Of Dna Sampling On Arrest, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

Every state now collects DNA from people convicted of certain offenses. Law enforcement authorities promote offender DNA databanking on the theory that it will identify offenders who commit additional crimes while or probation or parole, or after they have finished serving their sentences. Even relatively small databases have yielded such dividends. As these database searches uncover the perpetrators of rapes, murders, and other offenses, the pressure builds to expand the coverage of the databases.

Recent proposals call for extending not merely the scope of crimes for which DNA databanking would be used, but also the point at which the samples ...


How Good Is Good Enough?: Expert Evidence Under Daubert And Kuhmo, David H. Kaye, David L. Faigman, Michael J. Saks, Joseph Sanders Jan 2000

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

Journal Articles

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 ...