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Legal Community

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

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There are no upcoming events at this time.

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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Found 143 Results
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Blind Testing in Firearms Examination: Preliminary Results, Benefits, Limitations, and Future Directions

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

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 are used to meet accreditation requirements and demonstrate examiner competence;…


Extracting Case-Specific Data from Validation Studies

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

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 that any forensic method or algorithm should undergo validation testing…


Shining a Light on Black Box Studies

Type: Research Area(s): ,

This CSAFE webinar was held on April 22, 2022. Presenters: Dr. Kori Khan Iowa State University Dr. Alicia Carriquiry Iowa State University Presentation Description: The American criminal justice system heavily relies on conclusions reached by the forensic science community. In…


Sampling for Forensic Practitioners Short Course

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This three-session short course took place on March 25, April 1, and April 8, 2022. Recordings of completed sessions and practicum materials can be found below. Presenters: Alicia Carriquiry Director of CSAFE Iowa State University Joseph Zemmels Graduate Research Assistant…


Modeling And iNventory of Tread Impression System (MANTIS): The development, deployment and application of an active footwear data collection system

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This CSAFE webinar was held on March 24, 2022. Presenters: Dr. Richard Stone Iowa State University Dr. Susan Vanderplas University of Nebraska, Lincoln Presentation Description: This webinar details the development, capabilities and successful deployment of the Modeling And iNventory of…


Statistics in the Pursuit of Justice—A More Principled Strategy to Analyze Forensic Evidence.

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Alicia Carriquiry

Florence Nightingale David Lecture at Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM)

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Using Mixture Models to Examine Group Differences – Studying Juror Perceptions of the Strength of Forensic Science Evidence

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2021 | By: Naomi Kaplan-Damary

The following presentation was presented at 2021 International Association for Identification (IAI)

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A practical tool for information management in forensic decisions: Using Linear Sequential Unmasking-Expanded (LSU-E) in casework

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Adele Quigley-McBride

Forensic analysts often receive information from a multitude of sources. Empirical work clearly demonstrates that biasing information can affect analysts' decisions, and that the order in which task-relevant information is received impacts human cognition and decision-making. Linear Sequential Unmasking (LSU; Dror et…

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Forensic Science in Legal Education

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2021 | By: Brandon 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, following Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and Rule 702, which call upon judges to assess the…

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Psychometrics for Forensic Fingerprint Comparisons

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2021 | By: Amanda Luby

Forensic science often involves the evaluation of crime-scene evidence to determine whether it matches a known-source sample, such as whether a fingerprint or DNA was left by a suspect or if a bullet was fired from a specific firearm. Even…

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Improving Forensic Decision Making: a Human-Cognitive Perspective

Type: Research Area(s):

This CSAFE webinar was held on February 17, 2022. Presenter: Itiel Dror, PhD University College London Presentation Description: Humans play a critical role in forensic decision making. Drawing upon classic cognitive and psychological research on factors that influence and underpin…


Using Mixture Models to Examine Group Differences: An Illustration Involving the Perceived Strength of Forensic Science Evidence

Type: Research Area(s): ,

This CSAFE webinar was held on December 9, 2021. Presenter: Naomi Kaplan-Damary, PhD The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Presentation Description: Forensic examiners compare items to assess whether they originate from a common source. In reaching conclusions, they consider the probability…


Treatment of inconclusives in the AFTE range of conclusions

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Heike Hofmann

In the past decade, and in response to the recommendations set forth by the National Research Council Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community (2009), scientists have conducted several black-box studies that attempt to estimate the error…

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Assessing the resources and requirements of statistics education in forensic science

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Xiaoyi Yang

With the increasing ability to easily collect and analyze data, statistics plays a more critical role in scientific research activities, such as designing experiments, controlling processes, and understanding or validating lab results. As a result, incorporating statistics training into the…

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Commentary on Curley et al. Assessing cognitive bias in forensic decisions: a review and outlook

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: William C. Thompson

In their recent critical review titled “Assessing Cognitive Bias in Forensic Decisions: A Review and Outlook,” Curley et al. (1) offer a confused and incomplete discussion of “task relevance” in forensic science. Their failure to adopt a clear and appropriate…

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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…

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

Type: Research Area(s):

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…

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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

Type: , Research Area(s):

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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