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Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science Hardcover – September 3, 2012
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"For readers interesting in the phenomenon of unwarranted skepticism toward science, the book's chief value lies in Harris' detailed account of social and psychological factors that cause police and prosecutors to resist science-based reforms."- Science
“Wrongful convictions are the worst error the American criminal justice system can make. And yet in the last two decades we have learned both that we regularly convict the innocent and that, as a result of empirical advances in the social sciences, we now know what reforms are necessary to substantially decrease the risk of wrongful conviction. David Harris’s well-written and engaging book, Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science, brilliantly synthesizes this research and its implications, astutely connecting the dots from the reasons why wrongful convictions occur to the solutions necessary to prevent them. If there is one book that I would recommend to policymakers, criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors, police or the members of the general public about the subject of wrongful conviction, it is Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science. This first rate book is brimming with insight and intelligence.”-Richard A. Leo,University of San Francisco
"Overall, the book serves as a vital resource for those seeking to overcome the system's reliance on failed evidence by identifying sources of the problem and suggesting both quick and long-term remedies. It will help ensure the adoption of evidence-based methods that can achieve more accurate results in the nation's criminal justice system."-Tony Bornstein,The Champion
"Primarily intended for those in law enforcement, forensic science, and the legal fields, this book details potential pitfalls of the way investigative work is conducted and suggests new alternatives."-Library Journal
"This book should be required reading for every potential juror."-Post-Gazette
"Failed Evidence is a masterful expose of both the flaws in our criminal justice system and the reasons many police and prosecutors are unwilling to correct them. If real change is to occur, would-be reformers need to ingest this book. Its prescriptions, all based on the latest scientific findings, would go a long way toward eliminating wrongful convictions and ensuring accurate verdicts." -Christopher Slobogin,Vanderbilt University Law School
"David Harris, the nation's leading expert on racial profiling, turns his attention in this timely book to exposing the flaws in three standard investigative techniques used to solve crimes: interrogations, eyewitness identifications, and forensic science. In clear, accessible language, he shows how these flaws can lead juries to convict innocent individuals. He also discusses why those in the best position to address these flaws are likely to resist reform. A must-read for anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the criminal justice system."-Cynthia Lee,Charles Kennedy Poe Research Professor of Law, George Washington University
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Top Customer Reviews
I have often wondered why competent, profession law enforcement officers are so resistant to bringing their identification practices in line with the very large body of scientific knowledge in the area of eyewitness identification. Even in jurisdictions where the policies and procedures have been changed, police officers often continue to resist conducting valid identification procedures.
The attitude of many police officers, who do not get the training they should have in eyewitness identification, is to hand off a problematic eyewitness identification case to the prosecutors and they will sort it out. The prosecutor's attitude is that since the police obtained a positive identification the case should be tried.
This book identifies many of the sources of the problems in this unfortunate situation.
Robert Wm. Shomer
Failed Evidence supports reform that could rigorously test forensic science techniques to see if they actually worked. Another key reform from David Harris's book and one widely endorsed by experts, would be to establish enforceable standards and set up a mandatory certification and accreditation process for forensic science professionals and labs.
This book is a companion to the "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward" book. Three years ago, the influential National Academy of Sciences released a scathing report broadly condemning the work of criminal labs in the U.S. Too often, the report found, forensic labs do subpar work and rely on unproven techniques such as analyzing bite marks or examining the markings on a bullet.
Although a book oriented at technical processes, it is none-the-less at least for me a gripping story.
The book is an easy and informative read best suited for policymakers, scientists, advocates, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, defense attorneys, and anyone with a general interest in the American criminal justice system. Truth be told, anyone who might find themselves sitting in the chair of a juror should read Harris' book before sitting in judgment of fellow man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good exposition of why, with what behavioral science teaches us about causes of false criminal convictions, the judicial system resists reform.Published 3 months ago by R. Kennedy
The author states that while there is some police corruption, it never occurs above the rank of patrolman. I guess that he has never heard of Serpico or the Knapp Commission. Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by Ed Gaudelli Jr.
My non-fiction book club LOVED discussing Failed Evidence. Of course, everyone wanted to talk about the exoneration stories, but then people moved-on to talking about their own... Read morePublished on January 8, 2013 by Readiful
This is a tremendously important book about a subject courts, lawyers, and law enforcement needs to take seriously. Read morePublished on December 6, 2012 by Andrew Ferguson
as I commented after the previous reviewed individual tore up mr Harris As an individual who insists that evidence collected at a crime scene Lacks any scientific value and... Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by preston marks