When Does Absence of Evidence Constitute Evidence of Absence?

Forensic Science International, Forthcoming

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-56

6 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2018

See all articles by William C. Thompson

William C. Thompson

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

Nicholas Scurich

University of California, Irvine

Date Written: September 4, 2018

Abstract

Negative forensic evidence can be defined as the failure to find a trace after looking for it. Such evidence is often dismissed by referring to the aphorism “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” However, this reasoning can be misleading in the context of forensic science. This commentary is designed to help forensic scientists understand the probative value of negative forensic evidence.

Keywords: Forensic science, trace evidence, inference, Bayesian, Popper, likelihood ratio

Suggested Citation

Thompson, William C. and Scurich, Nicholas, When Does Absence of Evidence Constitute Evidence of Absence? (September 4, 2018). Forensic Science International, Forthcoming; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-56. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3244168

William C. Thompson

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

Irvine, CA
United States

Nicholas Scurich (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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