DNA evidence: Wrong answers or wrong questions?
- 61 Downloads
Much of the controversy over DNA evidence is due to the way in which forensic scientific evidence has classically been presented. The orthodox approach is to consider whether two samples match according to a predetermined criterion. If they do, the fact of match is reported along with an estimate of the frequency of the characteristics. This method fails to address the questions raised in court cases, diverts argument into irrelevancies and stultifies research. Presentation of evidence in the form of likelihood ratios, on the other hand, forces the witness to answer the questions the court is interested in and makes apparent lines of research required to increase our understanding.
Key wordsDNA forensic science significance tests likelihood ratios
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Essen-Möller, E., 1938. Die Biesweiskraft der Ähnlichkeit im Vater Schaftsnachweis; Theoretische Grundlagen. Mitt Anthorop, Ges (Wein) 68:598.Google Scholar
- Evett, I., 1986. A Bayesian Approach to the problem of interpreting glass evidence in forensic science casework. Journal of the Forensic Science Society 26:3–18.Google Scholar
- Evett, I., 1987. On meaningful questions: a two-trace transfer problem. Journal of the Forensic Science Society 27:375–381.Google Scholar
- Evett, I., 1991. Interpretation: a personal odyssey. pp. 9–22 in C.G.G. Aitken & D.A. Stoney (eds) The use of statistics in forensic science. Ellis Horwood, Chichester UK.Google Scholar
- Evett, I. & J. Buckleton, 1990. The interpretation of glass evidence. A practical approach. Journal of the Forensic Science Society 30:215–223.Google Scholar
- Evett, I.W., J. Scranage & R. Pinchin, 1993. An illustration of the advantages of efficient statistical methods for RFLP analysis in forensic science. Am. J. Human Genetics 52:498–505.Google Scholar
- Grubb, A. & D.S. Pearl, 1990. Blood Testing, AIDS and DNA Profiling; Law and Policy. Jordan and Sons Ltd, Bristol.Google Scholar
- Kaye, D., 1989. The probability of an ultimate issue; the strange cases of paternity testing. Iowa Law Review 1:75–109.Google Scholar
- Koehler, J.J., 1992. Probabilities in the Courtroom: An Evaluation of Objections and Policies. pp. 167–183 in D.K. Kagehiro & W.S. Laufer (eds), Handbook of Psychology and Law. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
- Lindley, D., 1977. A problem in forensic science. Biometrika 64: 207–213.Google Scholar
- Magnusson, E., 1993. Incomprehension and Miscomprehension of statistical evidence: an experimental study, Australian Institute of Criminology Conference on Law, Medicine and Criminal Justice, Queensland, July 1993.Google Scholar
- McQuillan, J. & K. Edgar, 1992. A survey of the distribution of glass on clothing. Journal of the Forensic Science Society 32: 333–348.Google Scholar
- Mills, H., 1991. The Birmingham Six Case — Vital Scientific Evidence Kept From Defence. The (London) Independent, 28 March 1991, p 2.Google Scholar
- National Research Council, 1992. DNA Technology in forensic science. National Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Pearson, E.F., R.W. May & M.G.D. Dabbs, 1971. Glass and paint fragments found in men's outer clothing — a report of a survey. Journal of Forensic Sciences 13:283–302.Google Scholar
- Thompson, W.C. & E. L. Schumann, 1987. Interpretation of statistical evidence in criminal trials/The prosecutor's fallacy and the defense attorney's fallacy. Law and Human Behaviour 11: 167–187.Google Scholar
- Walsh, K.A.J. & J.S. Buckleton, 1986. On the Problem of Assessing the Evidential Value of Glass Fragments Embedded in Footwear. Journal of the Forensic Science Society 26:55–60.Google Scholar