Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Forensic Science and Miscarriages of Justice

  • Simon A. Cole
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_233

Synonyms

Overview

The relationship between forensic science and miscarriages of justice is complex and paradoxical. Miscarriages of justice are, in a sense, fundamentally unknowable. Forensic science, in the form of postconviction DNA testing, is the data source of much of the little we do know – and much of what we feel we know most securely – about miscarriages of justice. At the same time, forensic science has emerged from those very data as a significant contributor to miscarriages of justice.

Conceptual Framework

“Forensic science” is a broad term encompassing a variety of different techniques for using physical evidence in the investigation of crime. Forensic techniques include document examination, toxicology, pathology, drug analysis, print analysis, impression evidence, hair, fibers, paint, glass, soil, entomology, arson and explosives, gunshot residue, materials analysis, “jigsaw” physical fit matching, ballistics, blood spatter, crime...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Recommended Reading and References

  1. Aronson JD, Cole SA (2009) Science and the death penalty: DNA, innocence, and the debate over capital punishment in the United States. Law Social Inquiry 34(3):603–633Google Scholar
  2. Borchard E (1942) Convicting the innocent: errors of criminal justice. Archon, HamdenGoogle Scholar
  3. Collins JM, Jarvis J (2009) The wrongful conviction of forensic science. Forensic Sci Policy Manag 1(1):17–31Google Scholar
  4. Connors E, Lundregan T, Miller N, McEwen T (1996) Convicted by juries, exonerated by science: case in the use of DNA evidence to establish innocence after trial. National Institute of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooley CM (2004) Reforming the forensic science community to avert the ultimate injustice. Stanford Law Policy Rev 15(2):381–446Google Scholar
  6. Edmond G (2002) Constructing miscarriages of justice: misunderstanding scientific evidence in high profile criminal appeals. Oxf J Legal Stud 22(1):53–89Google Scholar
  7. Findley KA (2011) Defining innocence. Albany Law Rev 74(3):1157–1208Google Scholar
  8. Garrett BL (2008) Judging innocence. Columbia Law Rev 108:55–142Google Scholar
  9. Garrett BL (2011) Convicting the innocent: where criminal prosecutions go wrong. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. Garrett BL, Neufeld P (2009) Invalid forensic science testimony and wrongful convictions. Virginia Law Rev 95(1):1–97Google Scholar
  11. Giannelli P (2007) Wrongful convictions and forensic science: the need to regulate crime labs. North Carolina Law Rev 86:163–235Google Scholar
  12. Gould JB, Leo RA (2010) One hundred years later: wrongful convictions after a century of research. J Crim Law Criminol 100(3):825–868Google Scholar
  13. Gross SR (2008) Convicting the innocent. Annu Rev Law Social Sci 4:173–192Google Scholar
  14. Gross S, Shaffer M (2012) Exonerations in the United States, 1989–2012. National Registry of Exonerations. http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/exonerations_us_1989_2012_full_report.pdf. Accessed on 16 July 2012
  15. Gross SR, Jacoby K, Matheson DJ, Montgomery N, Patel S (2005) Exonerations in the United States 1989 through 2003. J Crim Law Criminol 95:523–560Google Scholar
  16. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2005) Forensic science on trial. London, TSOGoogle Scholar
  17. Huff CR, Killias M (eds) (2008) Wrongful conviction: international perspectives on miscarriages of justice. Temple University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  18. Kaufman Commission (1998) Report on proceedings involving Guy Paul MorinGoogle Scholar
  19. Natapoff A (2012) Misdemeanors. South Calif Law Rev 85:101–163Google Scholar
  20. National Research Council (2009) Strengthening forensic science in the United States: a path forward. National Academies Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  21. Naughton M (2007) Rethinking miscarriages of justice: beyond the tip of iceberg. Palgrave Macmillan, BasingstrokeGoogle Scholar
  22. Nobles R, Schiff D (2000) Understanding miscarriages of justice: law, the media, and the inevitability of crisis. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Plummer C, Syed I (2012) ‘Shifted science’ and post-conviction relief. Stanford J Civil Rights Crim Law 8:259–297Google Scholar
  24. Radelet M, Bedau H, Putnam CE (1992) In spite of innocence: erroneous convictions in capital cases. Northeastern University Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  25. Risinger DM (2007) Innocents convicted: an empirically justified factual wrongful conviction rate. J Crim Law Criminol 97(3):761–806Google Scholar
  26. Roach K (2009) Forensic science and miscarriages of justice: some lessons from comparative experience. Jurimetrics 50:67–92Google Scholar
  27. Roberts P, Willmore C (1993) The role of forensic science evidence in criminal proceedings. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. Saks MJ, Koehler JJ (2005) The coming paradigm shift in forensic identification science. Science 309:892–895Google Scholar
  29. Scheck B, Neufeld P, Dwyer J (2000) Actual innocence: five days to execution and other dispatches from the wrongly convicted, 1st edn. Doubleday, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Schiffer B (2009) The relationship between forensic science and judicial error: a study covering error sources, bias, and remedies. PhD, University of Lausanne, LausanneGoogle Scholar
  31. Schiffer B, Champod C (2008) Judicial error and forensic science. In: Huff CR, Killias M (eds) Wrongful conviction: international perspectives on miscarriages of justice. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, pp 33–55Google Scholar
  32. Thompson WC (2008) Beyond bad apples: analyzing the role of forensic science in wrongful convictions. Southwestern Univ Law Rev 37:1027–1050Google Scholar
  33. United States v. Quinones (2002). 313 F.3d 49 (2nd Cir.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Law & SocietyUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA