Forensics under Fire: Are Bad Science and Dueling Experts Corrupting Criminal Justice?

Forensics under Fire: Are Bad Science and Dueling Experts Corrupting Criminal Justice?

Forensics under Fire: Are Bad Science and Dueling Experts Corrupting Criminal Justice?

Forensics under Fire: Are Bad Science and Dueling Experts Corrupting Criminal Justice?

Synopsis

"In Forensics Under Fire, Jim Fisher makes a compelling case that the problems in the practice of forensic science allow offenders to escape justice and can also lead to the imprisonment of innocent people. Bringing together examples from a host of high-profile criminal cases, Fisher presents daunting evidence that forensic science has a long way to go before it lives up to its potential and the public's expectations."

Excerpt

I've spent most of my adult life investigating crime, teaching criminal investigation, writing about the subject, and trying to figure out why so many serious crimes in the United States either go unsolved or lead to wrongful convictions. I've concluded that the law enforcement wars on drugs and terrorism have militarized the police and marginalized criminal investigation as a law enforcement function. Since forensic science is mainly in service to criminal investigation, scientific crime detection is not being fully utilized and so hasn't lived up to its full criminal justice potential.

In the 1920s forensic science pioneers and their supporters believed that one day scientific criminal investigation would significantly increase crime solution rates and at the same time reduce the dependence on the unreliable evidence produced by the third degree, eyewitness testimony, and jailhouse informants. This has not happened, at least not to a great enough extent, and to that degree, forensic science is a failed promise.

While the failure of forensic science to fully achieve its potential involves many realities beyond its control, there are problems within the profession that can be fixed by the practitioners themselves. Thinking about the nature and severity of these problems, how they affect the criminal justice system, and how they might be solved led me to write this book.

Jim Fisher February 13, 2007 . . .

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