Skip to content

Changed Science Statutes: Can Courts Accommodate Accelerating Forensic Scientific and Technological Change?

Journal: Jurimetrics
Published: 2017
Primary Author: 2017

In the past several years, the nation’s two most populous states have passed new statutes specifically intended to address the issue of rapidly changing scientific and technological knowledge, perhaps signaling a national trend. This reflection article situates a discussion of these “changed science statutes” within a sociological understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge, exploring the question of what it means for scientific knowledge to “change.” It then traces the procedural history of the two cases widely credited with prompting the passage of the statutes and courts’ varying interpretations of the statutes. It suggests that, while changed science statutes offer broad potential for redressing the use of impugned science in closed cases, courts have thus far limited their applicability through narrow interpretation of the statutes.

Related Resources

Blind Testing in Firearms Examination: Preliminary Results, Benefits, Limitations, and Future Directions

Blind Testing in Firearms Examination: Preliminary Results, Benefits, Limitations, and Future Directions

This CSAFE webinar was held on June 23, 2022. Presenters: Maddisen Neuman Quality / Research Associate, Houston Forensic Science Center   Presentation Description: Open proficiency tests created by external vendors…
Surveying Practicing Firearm Examiners

Surveying Practicing Firearm Examiners

A sample (n = 79) of practicing firearm and toolmark examiners was queried about casework as well as their views about the potential role that statistics might play in future…
Blind testing in firearms: Preliminary results from a blind quality control program

Blind testing in firearms: Preliminary results from a blind quality control program

Open proficiency tests meet accreditation requirements and measure examiner competence but may not represent actual casework. In December 2015, the Houston Forensic Science Center began a blind quality control program…
Extracting Case-Specific Data from Validation Studies

Extracting Case-Specific Data from Validation Studies

This CSAFE webinar was held on May 10, 2022. Presenters: Steve Lund Statistical Engineering Division, NIST Hari Iyer Statistical Engineering Division, NIST Presentation Description: The legal and scientific communities agree…