Communicating Probabilistic Forensic Evidence in Court
Forthcoming, In Allan Jamieson & Scott Bader (Eds.). A Guide to Forensic DNA Profiling. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Chichester, UK.
10 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 18, 2015
This chapter examines the different ways that forensic science matches may be characterized at trial and how jurors think about those matches. The focus is on common but erroneous match characterizations, and misconceptions jurors may have about the meaning of a match. There is also discussion about the significance of error rates and how presentation of match statistics affects jurors’ beliefs about the strength of the evidence. A final section counsels forensic scientists to avoid mischaracterizing the strength of match evidence and to be forthcoming about the assumptions behind the statistics they offer.
Keywords: error, fallacy, forensic science, match, random match probability, statistical evidence
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