Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science

Professor David A. Harris of the University of Pittsburgh has published an interesting book entitled Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science.  His 2012 book looks at problems with the traditional investigative tools in order to understand why wrongful convictions occur.  Harris asks why law enforcement and prosecutors are resistant to changing the techniques they have long relied on, including interrogations and eyewitness identifications. He describes techniques that scientists use to ensure valid results and discusses how they could be applied to forensic examinations and why law enforcement resists applying techniques like blind verification and proficiency testing.

Because this book examines the barriers to adopting new techniques, it is important for anyone working to improve forensic practices. The first chapter can be downloaded for free here. Professor Harris also has a blog where he posts regularly on issues related to forensic evidence, wrongful convictions, and improving police practices.

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