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Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science"

April 5, 2013 11:10am
Room 114


The OIP will host Professor David Harris, professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, who will speak about the problems in the criminal justice system with "junk science" being used to obtain convictions.

When we watch CSI or read the news, law enforcement seems to have entered into a golden partnership with science.  DNA identification has broken cold cases, making sure that murderers and rapists don’t get away with their crimes, and high-tech approaches to detective work make old school policing seem quaint.  But this is a misleading picture. Police departments and prosecutors officers love what DNA can do.  But when it comes to the decades of solid, rigorous science on some of the basics of police work, like eyewitness identification, interrogation of suspects, and non-DNA forensice it turns out there is no partnership at all.  Law enforcement prefers to ignore this science – even resist it.  David A. Harris, author of "Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science" (2012), will explore the real reasons for this resistance to science, and will ask how we might use this knowledge to break through  to a law enforcement system that reflects the best that science can do for us.


About the Speaker:

David A. Harris is Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  He is also Associate Dean for Research.  He works with law enforcement across the country to improve police behavior and accountability.  Harris is the leading national expert on racial profiling; his 2002 book "Profiles In Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work" and his scholarship on the practice laid the groundwork for the first federal legislation on profiling, and led to anti-profiling laws and regulations in over half the states and hundreds of police departments.  He testifies regularly in Congress and in numerous state legislatures.  He does training and lectures for police, lawyers, and judges around the U.S. and the world.

For more information, contact the OIP.