Professor David Kaye to present on Informal Fallacies in Examiner Testimony
August 2, 2010
Forensic testimony can bring a courtroom to a hush and irrevocably alter a defendant's life. But how can a forensic examiner "do justice" to the probative value of evidence while avoiding exaggeration or understatement? Professor David Kaye will present on this issue at a national symposium this week organized by the Department of Justice.
"Fingerprint examiners and other forensic experts often testify with '100% confidence' or to a 'scientific certainty' that a defendant is the source of a latent fingerprint or that a bullet came from a particular gun. It is time for criminalists to provide more scientifically defensible--and legally palatable--testimony," said Kaye.
Melissa R. Gische, Physical Scientist/Forensic Examiner with the Latent Print Operations Unit of the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, VA, will also present at the panel titled "Informal Fallacies in Examiner Testimony: The Search for Black Swans in Forensics." The Impression and Pattern Evidence Symposium is sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division.
Professor Kaye is the Weiss Family Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law and a member of the graduate faculty of the University’s Forensic Science program. He is the author of The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence, released earlier this year by Harvard University Press.