The Reliability of Forensics
This episode features a guest lecture by Professor Brandon L Garrett, who visited the School on 29 January.
Brandon L Garrett is a Professor of Law at Duke University, where his research focuses on the US criminal justice system. His books include ‘End of its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice’ and ‘Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong’.
In this talk, Garrett discusses a number of high-profile miscarriages of justice, cases which exploited the use of established, but unreliable, methods of forensic science such as finger printing, bite mark and fibre analysis, to ultimately convict an innocent person.
He concludes that as forensics of this kind remain admissible in US prosecutions, with public perception of the efficacy of this ‘science’ still positive, use of statistical and other qualifiers may be necessary in court to ensure such material is not exploited to sway a jury.