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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.

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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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Reply to Response to Vacuous standards – Subversion of the OSAC standards-development process

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Geoffrey Stewart Morrison

This Letter to the Editor is a reply to Mohammed et al. (2021) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsisyn.2021.100145, which in turn is a response to Morrison et al. (2020) “Vacuous standards – subversion of the OSAC standards-development process” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsisyn.2020.06.005.

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Jury Perception of Bullet Matching Algorithms and Demonstrative Evidence

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Rachel Rogers

Presented at Joint Statistical Meetings

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Unpacking the Sources of Error in Forensic Evidence

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Published: 2021 | By: Brandon Garrett

An overview of the Autopsy of a Crime Lab book and the ways in which error can occur in forensic evidence

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An Algorithm for Forensic Toolmark Comparisons

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Maria Cuellar

Forensic handheld toolmark examiners currently compare toolmarks (e.g. scratch marks on wire found as part of an explosive device, or on a door frame after someone broke into a house) by observing 2D images and subjectively deciding whether two marks…

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Center for Statistics and Application in Forensic Evidence Update

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

Published: 2022 | By: Alicia Carriquiry

The information below highlights a sample of current research initiatives led by the CSAFE team. Additional accomplishments in other forensic science disciplines will be discussed in subsequent issues of Forensic Science Review. Visit the CSAFE website www.forensicstats.org to learn more…

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Reliability for Binary and Ordinal Data in Forensics

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Hina Arora

Forensics studies of feature-based comparison decisions typically focus on the accuracy and reliability the decisions. Decisions can be reports in the form of binary conclusions (value / no value) or in the form of ordered categories. In general there is…

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The ASCLD Forensic Research Committee and You: A Collaboration Worth Investigating

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2022 | By: Henry Maynard

This CSAFE webinar was held on November 17, 2022. Presenter: Henry Maynard Committee Chair, ASCLD Forensic Research Committee Chief Scientist in the Office of the Chief Scientist, Defense Forensic Science Center Presentation Description: Over the last few years, the American…



Studying Reproducibility and Repeatability for Pattern Evidence Comparisons

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Hina Arora

The forensics community has recently conducted black-box studies to establish the accuracy and reliability of subjective forensic examination decisions. We have developed a statistical framework to assess the reliability of such subjective decisions that may be on different scales, for…

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handwriter: a Demonstration and Update on CSAFE Handwriting Analysis

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

Published: 2022 | By: Dr. Alicia Carriquiry

This CSAFE webinar was held on October 18, 2022. Presenters: Alicia Carriquiry Director, CSAFE Distinguished Professor and President’s Chair, Department of Statistics – Iowa State University Stephanie Reinders Research Scientist, CSAFE Presentation Description: Forensic handwriting analysis relies on the principle…


Autopsy of a Crime Lab: Addressing the Sources of Error in Forensics

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Brandon Garrett

Keynote presentation:  Autopsy of a Crime Lab book and overview of IMPL 1 Project Area

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Automatic Class Characteristic Recognition in Shoe Tread Images

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2022 | By: Jayden Stack

One of the fundamental problems in footwear forensics is that the distribution of class characteristics in the local population is not currently knowable. Surveillance devices for gathering this data are just half of the battle -- it is also necessary…

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Exploration of Subclass Characteristics Manufacturing

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2021 | By: Veronica Franklin

A webinar presented during the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE0 Firearm and Toolmark webinar series on the progress of our CSAFE project. This study assesses the production of subclass characteristics during the manufacturing of breech faces by three different…

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Tutorial on Likelihood Ratios with Applications in Digital Forensics

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This CSAFE webinar was held on September 15, 2022. Presenters: Rachel Longjohn PhD Student - Department of Statistics, University of California, Irvine Dr. Padhraic Smyth Chancellor's Professor - Departments of Statistics and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine Presentation Description:…


Ensemble SLRs for Forensic Evidence Comparison

Type: Research Area(s): ,,

This CSAFE webinar was held on August 25, 2022. Presenter: Danica Ommen Assistant Professor – Department of Statistics, Iowa State University Presentation Description: To strengthen the statistical foundations of forensic evidence interpretation, likelihood ratios and Bayes factors are advocated to…


Authors’ Response to Commentary on: Liu Y, Attinger D, De Brabanter K. Automatic classification of bloodstain patterns caused by gunshot and blunt impact at various distances

Type: Research Area(s):

Published: 2020 | By: Daniel Attinger

The Commentary by A. Keten makes the case for considering evaporation and coagulation in research and applications of the forensic discipline of bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA). The author also mentions two important facts: first, blood stains are often present in…

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Does Image Editing Improve the Quality of Latent Prints? An Analysis of Image‐Enhancement Techniques in One Crime Laboratory

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2022 | By: Brett Gardner

The following was presented at the 74th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Seattle, Washington, February 21-25, 2022

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What types of information can and do latent print examiners review? A survey of practicing examiners

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2022 | By: Brett Gardner

The following was presented at the 74th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Seattle, Washington, February 21-25, 2022.

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Investigative Leads in Latent Prints: A Comparison of Laboratory Procedures

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Published: 2022 | By: Amanda Wilson

The following was presented at the 74th Annual Scientific Conference of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Seattle, Washington, February 21-25, 2022.

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Characterizing verification and blind proficiency testing at forensic laboratories

Type: Research Area(s): ,

Published: 2022 | By: Maddisen Neuman

The 2014 Bureau of Justice survey of publicly funded forensic crime laboratories found that while 97% of the country’s 409 public forensic labs reported using some kind of proficiency testing, only 10% reported using blind tests (Burch et al, 2016).…

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