- Published: December 31, 2021
- Updated: December 31, 2021
- Level: Undergraduate
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Brain Fingerprinting Criteria from Daubert Introduction America started using the brain fingerprinting technology in 1911. The courts allowed fingerprinting evidence to be used in the courts. For most of the twentieth century, fingerprinting remained one of the standard methods of criminal identification. At the turn of the century, some authorities predicted that that in the next few decades, its use will be overtaken by DNA identification (Hensen, 2006).
Fingerprinting has faced several challenges in courts. In particular, the 1993 Supreme Court decision of Daubert v Merrel Dow, judges were expected to take a more active role in determining what scientific evidence is admissible in court. According to Daubert guidelines, new questions would be answered before fingerprints could be entered into evidence. Due to this decision, the court had to introduce five criteria that had to be achieved before evidence could be considered scientific. The first question that must be answered concerns peer review, and sound methodology. The second question involves a known error rate, the third involves testable hypothesis, fourth involves application outside of legal proceedings, and fifth question involves general acceptance (Hensen, 2006).
Brain fingerprinting continues to face challenges regarding twins. Twins have the same DNA, but different fingerprints. In addition, the main challenge to brain fingerprinting lies in the fact that there is a lack of universal standards for comparing fingerprints. Several mismatches of partial fingerprints have been encountered (Hensen, 2006).
Potential Rate of Error
This criterion involves using a particular scientific technique. In other words, it shows the likelihood of being wrong in the case whereby the scientist has asserted that alleged crime has a particular effect. The known potential error should be small, about 1-5 percent (Roth, 2010).
This criterion measures the extent at which the actions of the scientist produce results that are scientifically knowledgeable. Appropriate hypothesis testing techniques must be used on questions of interest to the scientific community. The general hypotheses testing techniques must be accepted after undergoing scrutiny by the scientific community (Roth, 2010).
Peer Review and Publication
The theory must be peer reviewed before publication. The scientist’s peers must scrutinize the work before being published. This is the only ways objectivity of the fingerprinting can be achieved. After publication, the work is then expected to undergo further review by other experts (Roth, 2010).
The hypothesis testing method should determine whether the research involved scientific methods or involved no-scientific methods. Admissibility must be based on scientific method of testing hypotheses. Hypothesis testing involves coming up with some propositions on observable events from credible scientific principles (Roth, 2010).
The Daubert standard requires that all scientific evidence, such as psychological assessment results, be reliable, based on four criteria. The first area addressed is whether the scientific technique used to obtain the evidence is helpful and can be tested. Second, the scientific technique is evaluated to determine if it has been subjected to peer review and publications. The error rate and standardization of the technique is considered as the third criterion. Finally, the overall acceptance of the technique by the scientific community is factored into the decision for admissibility.
Hensen, M (2006), Clinician’s Handbook of Adult Behavioral Assessment, Gulf Professional Publishing.
Roth, M (2010), Crime and Punishment: A History of the Criminal Justice System, New York: Cengage Learning.
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