The Testimony of Forensic Identification Science: What Expert Witnesses Say and What Factfinders Hear

McQuiston-Surrett, Dawn; Saks, Michael
October 2009
Law & Human Behavior (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.);Oct2009, Vol. 33 Issue 5, p436
Academic Journal
This research examined how variations in the presentation of forensic science information affect factfinders’ judgments in a trial. Participants read a summary of a murder case, the critical testimony being the results of a microscopic hair comparison given by a forensic expert. Across two experiments we manipulated how the expert expressed his results, whether he gave an explicit conclusion concerning identity of the hair, and whether the limitations of forensic science were expressed during trial. Qualitative testimony was more damaging to the defense than quantitative testimony, conclusion testimony increased the defendant’s culpability ratings when findings were presented quantitatively, and expressing limitations of forensic science had no appreciable effect. Results are discussed in terms of factfinders’ interpretation of forensic identification evidence.


Related Articles

  • John Hill Trial: 1971. Evans, Colin // Great American Trials;2003, p602 

    The article discusses a court case wherein the defendant was charged of murdering his wife in Houston, Texas. Joan Hill, wife of defendant John Hill became ill for no apparent reason on March 18, 1969 which led to her subsequent death. Her father, Ash Robinson, tried everything to indict Hill...

  • Leveling the Playing Field, Part II. Clark, Alan // Forensic Examiner;May/Jun2002, Vol. 11 Issue 5/6, p39 

    The article discusses the importance of preparing for deposition and trial by a defendant doctor. The author notes that an effective trial attorney must prepare the case as if it were going to trial. He stresses that the most important step in the process of trial preparation is preparing for...

  • IN THE NEWS.  // Forensic Examiner;Jan/Feb1996, Vol. 5 Issue 1/2, p10 

    This section offers world news briefs related to forensic science in January 1996. A woman accused of killing her boyfriend and stowing the body in a freezer plans to argue that her behavior was influenced by her undiagnosed diabetes in Queensbury, New York. A lawsuit was filed by former police...

  • Trial and Environmental Error. Simpson, K. L.; Bradwell, Simon; Sands (Rev), Rilma; Taylor, Daphne; Fanselow, Richard; Combes, Hilary; Dunlay, Dave; Wills, B.; Henderson, Warwick; Pollard, Sue; Alexander, Donnell; Sherrard, Isabelle // North & South;Jan2013, Issue 322, p12 

    Several letters to the editor are presented in response to articles in previous issues, including "Who Killed Scott Guy" in the December 2012 issue, "The Death of a Dream" in the August 2012 issue, and "Furore in Fiordland" in the December 2012 issue.

  • Prejudice Speaks from the Bench The Court's Decision in the Mooney-Billings Case. West, George P. // New Republic;7/23/30, Vol. 63 Issue 816, p282 

    Focuses on the decision of the California Supreme Court in the Mooney-Billings case related to murder. Facts of the case; Contention of the plaintiff; Basis of the court decision.

  • Cruz Execution Set. Hansen, Mark // ABA Journal;Feb93, Vol. 79 Issue 2, p38 

    Reports on the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court to affirm the conviction and sentence of Rolando Cruz who was awaiting execution for a murder another man claims to have committed. Reasons for the court's decision to dismiss the out-of-court claims of another man who allegedly committed...

  • Jury of our peers.  // America;6/7/1947, Vol. 77 Issue 10, p258 

    The article presents comments related to the failure of the law forces of South Carolina to justify the murder case of Willie Earle. It claims that the jury's decision to acquit the defendant showed reluctance to provide impartial justice to the Negro. Thus, it has been suggested that if people...

  • Bittersweet justice. Hernandez, Greg // Advocate;11/22/2005, Issue 951, p35 

    This article discusses the outcomes in two recent murder trials in California involving the deaths of transgender women, as of November 2005. In the well-publicized Gwen Araujo case, two men were convicted of second-degree murder and each sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after a...

  • What is the Difference Between a Forensic Accountant and Other Accountants? Von Guenthner, Dirk // Forensic Examiner;Nov/Dec1995, Vol. 4 Issue 10/11, p29 

    The article compares the forensic accountant with other accountants. The author describes the work of the forensic accountant that also includes being involved in the legal process as an expert witness, for example, in arbitration or mediation. It also discusses the difficulties of other...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics