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Book Review: Understanding Failed Evidence

5 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2013  

Keith A. Findley

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: April 16, 2013


This is a short book review of David Harris's new book, Understanding Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science. Harris's book neatly and comprehensively summarizes the social science research on wrongful convictions, focusing on three types of flawed evidence: eyewitness identifications, forensic sciences, and confessions. Where the book makes its most significant contributions is in its exploration of why the criminal justice system has largely not yet responded to and incorporated the social scientific research about these types of evidence (which Harris largely attributes to cognitive biases), and his prescriptions both for what to reform, and how to do it.

Keywords: wrongful conviction, failed evidence, flawed evidence, eyewitness identification, confession, forensic science, cognitive biases

JEL Classification: K42

Suggested Citation

Findley, Keith A., Book Review: Understanding Failed Evidence (April 16, 2013). 28 Criminal Justice (Forthcoming); Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1223. Available at SSRN:

Keith A. Findley (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-4763 (Phone)
608-263-3380 (Fax)


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