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View Diary: Morning Feature: To free the innocent (with poll and matching gift) (90 comments)

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  •  Some of it is bad science ... (11+ / 0-)

    ... but some of it is bad argument from science.  Most people hear the words "fingerprint match" and think "Aha! So that wraps it up!"  In fact forensics technicians rarely recover an entire, pristine print at a crime scene.  More often they get a partial, and even the partial is often somewhat indistinct.  So it becomes a question of "points of comparison" and a statistical issue of how often you'll find that many points of comparison in random fingerprints.

    Forensic science is very important and useful, but juries need to be educated about putting the science in its proper context within a given case.  If you have six pieces of forensic evidence pointing toward a defendant, that means quite a bit.  When you have only one, that means a lot less.

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