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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

Roger C. Park

Abstract

The Daubert case encourages judges to ask whether forensic identification expertise is valid, not merely whether it is accepted among practitioners. The example of DNA has shown what real science can do, and has highlighted the shortcomings of other forms of forensic science. The combined effect of Daubert and DNA has contributed to skepticism about forensic identification techniques. This skepticism may lead to exclusion of evidence or to procedural limits aimed at making the expertise more trustworthy or preventing it from having undue weight. I will discuss these two alternatives in the context of the specific forensic problem of signature authentication expertise of forensic document examiners (FDEs), after first considering general principles applicable to experience-based expertise.

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