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A review of likelihood ratios in forensic science based on a critique of Stiffelman "No longer the Gold standard: Probabilistic genotyping is changing the nature of DNA evidence in criminal trials"

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 310 Dated: 2020
Date Published
1 page

Stiffelman provides a broad critique of the application of likelihood ratios (LRs) in forensic science, particularly their use in probabilistic genotyping (PG) software. These are discussed in this review.


LRs do not infringe on the ultimate issue. The Bayesian paradigm clearly separates the role of the scientist from that of the decision-makers and distances the scientist from comment on the ultimate and subsidiary issues. LRs do not affect the reasonable doubt standard. Fact-finders must still make decisions based on all the evidence, and they must do this considering all evidence, not just that given probabilistically. LRs do not infringe on the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence does not equate with a prior probability of zero but simply that the person of interest (POI) is no more likely than anyone else to be the donor. Propositions need to be exhaustive within the context of the case; i.e., propositions deemed relevant by either defense or prosecution which are not fanciful must not be omitted from consideration. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020