Forensic knowledge: Improving public and professional perceptions of DNA evidence
Date of this Version
Despite advances in the understanding of forensic identification sciences there remain problems with an over-reliance on DNA evidence in trials, concerns about the manner in which the experts present their evidence, lack of understanding by legal professionals, an consequent comprehension difficulties experienced by jurors. This paper addresses those for lacunae by examining levels of awareness of DNA evidence in criminal trials by both lay and professional participants. It draws on the findings from two recently conducted studies by the authors and their colleagues. One was an experimental design that manipulated the manner in which DNA results were presented to mock- jurors and the other was a case-based survey of law students to gauge their levels of forensic awareness. These studies provide promising findings about ways in which information and educational processes can be enhanced vis-à-vis forensic identification evidence.
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