Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Real CSI

I have written at length about the failure regarding what comprises the field of forensic 'science' in our criminal justice system

Some is just junk, such as lie detectors, blood spatter analysis and bite mark ones. There are always new whacked out ones such as handwriting style analysis, cell phone bullshit and now breath tests for pot. It never changes if there is money there is some huckster finding ways to bleed money from willing gullible idiots.

Radley Balko writes extensively about the subject, his column is here. I have written also about the bullshit in crime labs, the conflict of interest and the way labs are run and misrun you can peruse the blog for those essays.

The bias is inherent in our lives and system and this study demonstrates the issues with regards to bias and perception and how it affects serious issues such as people's lives.

The Daubert/Kumho Implications of Observer Effects in Forensic Science: Hidden Problems of Expectation and Suggestion

D. Michael Risinger Seton Hall University School of Law; Michael J. Saks Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; William C. Thompson University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society; Robert Rosenthal University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Psychology 2002

California Law Review, Vol. 90, p. 1, January 2002

After the Supreme Court's decision in Kumho Tire v. Carmichael and the recent amendment of Federal Rule of Evidence 702, proffers of expert testimony will have to be found reliable for the particular application of the asserted expertise to the "task at hand." That is, expertise which is reliable in some global sense, which might apply to other cases but not to the particular application before the court, does not satisfy the requirements for admission. With that in mind, this article examines the phenomoenon of "observer effects" and the vulnerability of forensic science examinations to such observer effects. Observer effects occur when the results of an examination are distorted by the context and state of the observer, including the observer's expectations and desires. The article reviews the findings and practices of a range of scientific fields concerning such observer effects and their control, with special attention to the relevant research and theory from cognative and social psychology. This literature establishes that in virtually every area of human judgment, such observer effects have a relentless and sometimes dramatic effect on the accuracy of results. The article then examines current forensic science practice in light of that research, concluding that forensic science practice is far behind most scientific fields in controlling for such effects, leaving the reliability and accuracy of many forensic science results in doubt. The article then suggests practical ways in which forensic science practice can be changed to reduce such problems, such as the adoption of blind testing regimes. Finally, the article analyzes the current state of the law under Kumho Tire and Rule 702, concluding that the results of forensic science examinations are in danger of being excluded if their reliability continues to be undermined by the failure to control observer effects.

Until the window is opened with regards to problems with forensic science, through federal guidelines, regulation and of course transparency, expect more Dexter and CSI's to muck up the system. Because the people are just that people and without double blind experiments, committees to ensure that the science is valid and of course the idiots that are a member of the Bar Association, Prosecutors and most importantly Judges, expect this to be the star witness taking the stand.

If you can't baffle them with bullshit blind them with science.

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