From fingerprints to burn marks, shoe prints to bite-marks, and dozens of other disciplines, our courts certainly have a lot of forensic science thrown at them on a daily basis. But how equipped is our legal system to properly handle scientific evidence? And what about individual lawyers and judges: can they be trusted to properly vet, scrutinize--and when necessary, exclude--forensic science disciplines they scarcely understand?
This course will explore the tenuous but necessary relationship between forensic science and the law, which begins with the fundamental difference between ?truth? as defined by science and as defined by law. From that foundation, we will consider how various forensic techniques have come to be accepted, admitted--and in many cases later repudiated--by our judicial system. We will study what goes right, what goes wrong and how we as lawyers can work to improve the system of forensic science in America.
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