Symmetry, Adversarialism, Scholarly Convention, and Latent Print Identification: A Reply to Merlino and Springer
10 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 9, 2009
This paper is a reply to Merlino and Springer’s reply to my response to their article in a special issue of the journal on the impact on Daubert on forensic science. In this reply, I accept Merlino and Springer’s apology for the appearance of an ad hominem attack on me in their article and make my own apologies for some misconstruals I made of their position. However, I argue that their reply continues to mischaracterize the testimony that I gave in the case at issue, People v. Hyatt, as well as the position of so-called “critics” of latent print identification in general. The reply further notes that, paradoxically, Merlino and Springer appear to agree with the testimony I gave: that the reliability of latent print identification has not been empirically validated. The reply closes with some reflections that suggest that the superficially appealing tendency to bash “adversarialism” in debates over expert evidence, in fact, be somewhat misguided.
Keywords: fingerprint, Merlino, valdity, adversarialism, Daubert, Hyatt, expert evidence
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