The ProPublica publication “The FBI Says Its Photo Analysis Is Scientific Evidence. Scientists Disagree.” raises questions of the statistical basis of FBI pattern evidence analysis techniques. ProPublica interviewed leading statisticians on the overstatement of the scientific precision of these methods, and CSAFE team members Dr. Karen Kafadar, Dr. Alicia Carriquiry, and Dr. Simon Cole contributed feedback.
From the article:
“Examiners had long testified in court that they could determine what fingertip left a print, what gun fired a bullet, which scalp grew a hair “to the exclusion of all others.” Research and exonerations by DNA analysis have repeatedly disproved these claims, and the U.S. Department of Justice no longer allows technicians and scientists from the FBI and other agencies to make such unequivocal statements, according to new testimony guidelines released last year.”
CSAFE works to enable forensic scientists like FBI personnel to reach more-informed and more-accurate conclusions through statistical models that analyze and interpret data and evidence. Learn more about how CSAFE is increasing the statistical foundations of forensic science on our research page.