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Apply our Research in Practice

Individuals in the courtroom, including judges, attorneys, and jury members, are challenged with interpreting the probabilistic evidence provided by new forensic methods. CSAFE is committed to providing up-to-date training to allow the legal community to fairly evaluate and communicate forensic conclusions. Judges, who under Daubert have the role of gate-keepers for the science that gets admitted into evidence in federal (and many) state courts, need specific knowledge to make appropriate decisions on matters of admissibility and expert testimony and to guide jurors in their deliberations when complex technical evidence is presented at trial.

Through collaborations with other national agencies, CSAFE provides legal education offerings at the intersection of forensics, statistics, and law –– both online and in-person –– to promote quantitative literacy among the legal community. Check back regularly for new offerings, and please contact us with any interest in educational collaborations or with questions.

Upcoming Events

Registration is now open for these events.

Introduction to Statistical Thinking for Judges

In the second edition of the Science Bench Book for Judges, a new section written by CSAFE researchers helps explain some of the common concepts used in statistical analysis. Judges will gain an understanding of the basics, including populations and samples, before moving on to different types of data that might arise in legal proceedings.

Available Resources
For the Legal Community

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Judges and forensic science education: A national survey

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Published: 2021 | By: Brandon L. Garrett

In criminal cases, forensic science reports and expert testimony play an increasingly important role in adjudication. More states now follow a federal reliability standard, which calls upon judges to assess the reliability and validity of scientific evidence. Little is known…

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Science Bench Book for Judges: Section 4 Introduction to Statistical Thinking for Judges

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Published: 2020 | By: Alicia Carriquiry

Alicia Carriquiry, the director of the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), and Eryn Blagg, a doctoral student in statistics at Iowa State University, wrote a section on statistics for the newly released second edition of the…

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Judges and forensic science education: A national survey

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Brandon L. Garrett

In criminal cases, forensic science reports and expert testimony play an increasingly important role in adjudication. More states now follow a federal reliability standard, which calls upon judges to assess the reliability and validity of scientific evidence. Little is known…

View on Digital Repository


Juror appraisals of forensic evidence: Effects of blind proficiency and cross-examination

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: William E. Crozier

Forensic testimony plays a crucial role in many criminal cases, with requests to crime laboratories steadily increasing. As part of efforts to improve the reliability of forensic evidence, scientific and policy groups increasingly recommend routine and blind proficiency tests of…

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Bayesian hierarchical modeling for the forensic evaluation of handwritten documents

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Published: 2020 | By: Amy Crawford

The analysis of handwritten evidence has been used widely in courts in the United States since the 1930s (Osborn, 1946). Traditional evaluations are conducted by trained forensic examiners. More recently, there has been a movement toward objective and probability-based evaluation…

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Mock Jurors’ Evaluation of Firearm Examiner Testimony

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Published: 2020 | By: Brandon L. Garrett

Objectives: Firearms experts traditionally have testified that a weapon leaves “unique” toolmarks, so bullets or cartridge casings can be visually examined and conclusively matched to a particular firearm. Recently, due to scientific critiques, Department of Justice policy, and judges’ rulings,…

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Mock Juror Perceptions of Forensics

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This CSAFE Center Wide webinar was presented on December 8, 2020 by: Brandon Garrett – L. Neil Williams Professor of Law, Faculty Director at the Wilson Center for Science and Justice Nicholas Scurich – Associate Professor of Criminology, Law &…


A Pioneer in Forensic Science Reform: The Work of Paul Giannelli

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Published: 2018 | By: Brandon Garrett

Few can say, "I told you so," to our entire criminal justice system. Being right about what is wrong with the use of evidence in criminal cases is not a bad thing, but being able to influence the growing response…

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Probabilistic Reporting in Criminal Cases in the United States: A Baseline Study

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Published: 2020 | By: Simon Cole

Forensic evidence reporting shows a high degree of adherence to prevailing disciplinary standards.  Probabilistic reporting of forensic results remains rare.  Probabilistic reports were mostly subjective verbal assignments of posterior probabilities.

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Statistical methods for digital image forensics: Algorithm mismatch for blind spatial steganalysis and score-based likelihood ratios for camera device identification

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Published: 2020 | By: Stephanie Reinders

Forensic science currently faces a variety of challenges. Statistically suitable reference databases need to be developed and maintained. Subjective methods that can introduce bias need to be replaced by objective methods. Highly technical forensic methods need to be clearly and…

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Open Forensic Science in R

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Published: 2019 | By: Samantha Tyner

This book is for anyone looking to do forensic science analysis in a data-driven and open way. Whether you are a student, teacher, or scientist, this book is for you. We take the latest research, primarily from the Center for Statistics and…

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Statistical Methods for the Forensic Analysis of User-Event Data

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Published: 2020 | By: Chris Galbraith

A common question in forensic analysis is whether two observed data sets originate from the same source or from different sources. Statistical approaches to addressing this question have been widely adopted within the forensics community, particularly for DNA evidence, providing…

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Hunting wild stego images, a domain adaptation problem in digital image forensics

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Published: 2020 | By: Li Lin

Digital image forensics is a field encompassing camera identication, forgery detection and steganalysis. Statistical modeling and machine learning have been successfully applied in the academic community of this maturing field. Still, large gaps exist between academic results and applications used…

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How Can a Forensic Result Be a ‘Decision’? A Critical Analysis of Ongoing Reforms of Forensic Reporting Formats for Federal Examiners

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Published: 2020 | By: Simon A. Cole

The decade since the publication of the 2009 National Research Council report on forensic science has seen the increasing use of a new word to describe forensic results. What were once called “facts,” “determinations,” “conclusions,” or “opinions,” are increasingly described…

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Quantifying the similarity of 2D images using edge pixels: An application to the forensic comparison of footwear impressions

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Published: 2020 | By: Soyoung Park

We propose a novel method to quantify the similarity between an impression (Q) from an unknown source and a test impression (K) from a known source. Using the property of geometrical congruence in the impressions, the degree of correspondence is…

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Quantifying the similarity of 2D images using edge pixels: An application to the forensic comparison of footwear impressions

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Soyoung Park

We propose a novel method to quantify the similarity between an impression (Q) from an unknown source and a test impression (K) from a known source. Using the property of geometrical congruence in the impressions, the degree of correspondence is…

View on Digital Repository


A database of two-dimensional images of footwear outsole impressions

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Soyoung Park

Footwear outsole images were obtained from 150 pairs of used shoes. The motivation for constructing the database was to enable a statistical analysis of two-dimensional (2D) images of shoe outsoles, to understand within shoe (between replicate images of the same…


Statistical Methods for the Forensic Analysis of Geolocated Event Data

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Christopher Galbraith

A common question in forensic analysis is whether two observed data sets originated from the same source or from different sources. Statistical approaches to addressing this question have been widely adopted within the forensics community, particularly for DNA evidence. Here…

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Statistical methods for the forensic analysis of geolocated event data

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Chris Galbraith

A common question in forensic analysis is whether two observed data sets originated from the same source or from different sources. Statistical approaches to addressing this question have been widely adopted within the forensics community, particularly for DNA evidence. Here…

View on Digital Repository


Implementation of a Blind Quality Control Program in a Forensic Laboratory

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Published: 2019 | By: Callan Hund

A blind quality control (QC) program was successfully developed and implemented in the Toxicology, Seized Drugs, Firearms, Latent Prints (Processing and Comparison), Forensic Biology, and Multimedia (Digital and Audio/Video) sections at the Houston Forensic Science Center (HFSC). The program was…

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