Changed Science Statutes: Can Courts Accommodate Accelerating Forensic Scientific and Technological Change?

16 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2017 Last revised: 28 Nov 2017

See all articles by Simon A. Cole

Simon A. Cole

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Date Written: November 27, 2017

Abstract

In the past several years, the nation’s two most populous states have passed new statutes specifically intended to address the issue of rapidly changing scientific and technological knowledge, perhaps signaling a national trend. This reflection article situates a discussion of these “changed science statutes” within a sociological understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge, exploring the question of what it means for scientific knowledge to “change.” It then traces the procedural history of the two cases widely credited with prompting the passage of the statutes and courts’ varying interpretations of the statutes. It suggests that, while changed science statutes offer broad potential for redressing the use of impugned science in closed cases, courts have thus far limited their applicability through narrow interpretation of the statutes.

Keywords: science, technology, forensic science, changed science, false evidence, junk science

Suggested Citation

Cole, Simon A., Changed Science Statutes: Can Courts Accommodate Accelerating Forensic Scientific and Technological Change? (November 27, 2017). Jurimetrics, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 443-458, Summer 2017, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2017-55, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3046876

Simon A. Cole (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Criminology, Law and Society ( email )

2340 Social Ecology 2, RM
Irvine, CA 92697
949-824-1443 (Phone)
949-824-3001 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.seweb.uci.edu/faculty/cole/

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