UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have released a web-based educational module on DNA evidence designed by Penn State Law associate dean for research David H. Kaye. “The Interpretation of DNA Evidence: A Case Study in Probabilities” is one of nine modules prepared by educators selected by the Academies to prepare materials to help students in professional schools –law, public policy, medicine, journalism, and business—understand science and its role in decision making.
Kaye’s module presents trial testimony, exhibits, and opinions in a case in which federal courts at every level discerned “inaccuracies” in the testimony of a leading expert about probabilities associated with DNA evidence. By embedding these legal materials in explanations, questions, and problems, the module supports self-study and class discussions that can elucidate key principles in scientific reasoning and quantitative analysis and that can help students apply the theory of probability in a legal setting. The goal is to give students in all fields the analytical tools needed to evaluate the presentation of the scientific evidence in the case. The module is available on the Academies website.
Kaye, who also serves as the Weiss Family Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Law at Penn State Law, is an expert on scientific evidence and statistics in law. He holds degrees from MIT, Harvard, and Yale universities. His publications include 12 books and more than 170 articles and letters in journals of law, philosophy, psychology, medicine, genetics, and statistics. He has taught evidence, law and science, criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, torts, law and economics, legal philosophy, and international human rights law.