Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date

9-2019

Journal or Book Title

Forensic Science International

Volume

302

First Page

109887

DOI

10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.109887

Abstract

Every scientific technique features some error, and legal standards for the admissibility of scientific evidence (e.g., Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 1993; Kumho Tire Co v. Carmichael, 1999) guide trial courts to consider known error rates. However, recent reviews of forensic science conclude that error rates for some common techniques are not well-documented or even established (e.g., NAS, 2009; PCAST, 2016). Furthermore, many forensic analysts have historically denied the presence of error in their field. Therefore, it is important to establish what forensic scientists actually know or believe about errors rates in their disciplines. We surveyed 183 practicing forensic analysts to examine what they think and estimate about error rates in their various disciplines. Results revealed that analysts perceive all types of errors to be rare, with false positive errors even more rare than false negatives. Likewise, analysts typically reported that they prefer to minimize the risk of false positives over false negatives. Most analysts could not specify where error rates for their discipline were documented or published. Their estimates of error in their fields were widely divergent – with some estimates unrealistically low.

Comments

This is a manuscript of an article published as Murrie, Daniel C., Brett O. Gardner, Sharon Kelley, and Kellyn Biasdell. "Perceptions and estimates of error rates in forensic science: A survey of forensic analysts." Forensic science international 302 (2019): 109887. Posted with permission of CSAFE.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier B.V.

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Published Version

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