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Statistics and the Fair Administration of Justice

Conference/Workshop:
American Statistical Association Joint Statistical Meetings
Published: 2019
Primary Author: Hal Stern
Secondary Authors: Alicia L. Carriquiry, Bill Eddy, Karen Kafadar
Research Area: Training and Education

Statistics has emerged as a critical topic in ongoing discussions regarding the practice of forensic science. A 2009 National Academies report on forensic science and a subsequent 2016 report by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology raised questions about the scientific underpinnings for the presentation of a number of types of forensic evidence. Misapplication of forensic science was a contributing factor in nearly half of 362 cases in which DNA helped exonerate wrongly-convicted individuals. The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Iowa State University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Irvine and the University of Virginia, is working to build a statistically sound, scientifically valid foundation for the analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence. CSAFE also provides education and training to the forensic practitioner and legal communities that raise awareness of key statistical issues and new research results. This presentation addresses major topics in forensic science and preliminary results from CSAFE research projects.

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