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241.6 sec. 1 - Forensic Evidence (Spring 2014)
Instructor: Andrea Roth (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Meeting Time: M 3:35-5:25
Meeting Location: 111
Course Start: January 06, 2014
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49649
This seminar offers an intensive introduction to the use
of forensic evidence in court, with a nearly exclusive emphasis on
criminal cases. We will cover the legal principles governing
admissibility and use of forensic evidence at trial and sentencing;
the actual science (or lack thereof) underlying various forensic
disciplines; the principles of the scientific method (including error
rates and sources of bias) and their relevance to forensic science
litigation; the cultural and social contexts in which forensic
disciplines have been developed and used in court; the debate about juror competence with respect to assessing forensic evidence; and the broader debate about the role of science in criminal adjudication. We will discuss these topics through the study of specific forensic
disciplines such as arson, fingerprinting, forensic odontology (bitemarks), toolmarks,
forensic DNA typing, facial recognition techniques, digital forensics, and neuroscience.
Evaluation will be based 90% on a final paper on a topic of the student's choosing (subject to instructor approval), and 10% on class participation. Students wishing to write a longer, 30+ page paper to satisfy their Writing Requirement can do so, subject to instructor approval.
Evidence is recommended but not required.
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.