Articles Tagged with gianelli

Gianneli on the Unreliability of Microscopic Hair Analysis

Giannelli paul cPaul C. Giannelli (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) has posted Microscopic Hair Comparisons: A Cautionary Tale on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report on forensic science, “testimony linking microscopic hair analysis with particular defendants is highly unreliable.” This is a stunning conclusion because hair evidence has been admitted in numerous trials for over a century. 
The NAS Report was not the first to raise issues concerning hair evidence. In 1996, the Department of Justice issued a report discussing the exonerations of the first twenty-eight convicts through the use of DNA technology. This report highlighted the significant role that hair analysis played in a number of cases of these miscarriages of justice, including some death penalty cases. In 1998, a Canadian judicial inquiry into the wrongful conviction of Guy Paul Morin was released. His original conviction was based, in part, on hair evidence. The judge conducting the inquiry recommended that “[t]rial judges should undertake a more critical analysis of the admissibility of hair comparison evidence as circumstantial evidence of guilt.”

This is likely a duplicate post, but it’s worth it anyway.  Here again is a piece from my old Crim. Law prof about forensics.

Paul C. Giannelli (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) (University of Illinois Law Review, Forthcoming, Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-6) has posted Daubert and Forensic Science: The Pitfalls of Law Enforcement Control of Scientific Research on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences published a landmark report on forensic science: Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. The Report represents one of the most important developments in forensic science since the establishment of the crime laboratory in the 1920s. Within months, Justice Scalia cited the report in Commonwealth v. Melendez-Diaz, noting that “[s]erious deficiencies have been found in the forensic evidence used in criminal trials” and “[f]forensic evidence is not uniquely immune from the risk of manipulation.” After two years of studying fingerprints, handwriting, ballistics, and other common forensic techniques, the Academy concluded that “some forensic science disciplines are supported by little rigorous systematic research to validate the discipline’s basic premises and techniques.” Indeed, “only nuclear DNA analysis has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between an evidentiary sample and a specific individual or source.”