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Presenting Probabilities in the Courtroom: A Moot Court Exercise

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 63 Issue: 4 Dated: July - August 2013 Pages: 424-488
Glenn Langenburg; Cedric Neumann; Stephen B. Meagher; Christine Funk; Julieanne P. Avila
Date Published
August 2013
65 pages
At the 96th Annual Educational Conference for the International Association for Identification (IAI), held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a moot court exercise was conducted.
In front of a live audience of approximately 300 attendees, two witnesses for the State presented a case to a mock jury. The case included the presentation of latent print evidence that, under current reporting conventions, would likely be considered as being of no value for individualization purposes. In this mock case, the authors explored the presentation of latent print evidence, which strength "as quantified using a fingerprint statistical model. The mock jury, which consisted of 11 local laypersons with no professional knowledge of fingerprint science, heard direct examinations and cross-examinations of the witnesses. After each witness, and after closing arguments, the mock jurors answered surveys regarding their understanding of the weight of the evidence in the case. The mock jury results were tabulated live and presented to the audience. In addition, prior to surveying the mock jury, the audience was surveyed. The present paper reports the mock jury and audience survey results. It also provides commentaries by the authors regarding their respective views on the subject and interpretations of the results. (Published Abstract)