The Forensic Inference Series

“As it is practiced today, forensic science does not extract the truth reliably. Forensic science expert evidence that is erroneous (that is, honest mistakes) and fraudulent (deliberate misrepresentation) has been one of the major causes, and perhaps the leading cause, of erroneous convictions of innocent persons” (Michael J. Saks, et al., “Model Prevention and Remedy of Erroneous Convictions Act,” Arizona State Law Journal, vol. 33, 2001).

Members of the legal and scientific communities recognize that there are substantial problems with scientific expert testimony in our courtrooms, but no one seems to know why. The courts seem powerless to recognize when testimony is incorrect and misleading; consequently, they are unable to perform their role as gatekeepers for reliable scientific testimony. Scientists in general are also not helpful to the courts; many scientists do not realize that much of what they offer as testimony is incorrect and logically invalid. Prosecuting and defense attorneys are also misled by scientists because, much of the time, the scientists do not reliably “find the truth behind the death” or injury.

Dr. Young, in a series of eight articles written from 2007 to 2012, blows the lid on fraudulent, error-prone forensic science. Proper application of the principles expressed in these articles would not only lead to reliable forensic scientific testimony in the courts but would also open a new understanding of how to apply reliable analytical methods to past events.

Articles in this Series