Failed forensics: How forensic science lost its way and how it might yet find it

Michael Saks, David L. Faigman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Agroup of nonscience forensic sciences has developed over the past century. These are fields within the broader forensic sciences that have little or no basis in actual science. They are not applications of established basic sciences, they have not systematically tested their own hypotheses, and they make unsupported assumptions and exaggerated claims. This review explains the nature and origins of those nonscience forensic fields, which include the forensic individualization sciences and certain other areas, such as fire and arson investigation. We explore the role of the courts in maintaining the underdeveloped state of these fields and consider suggestions for improving this state of affairs (addressing the potential role that could be played by these fields themselves, by the courts, and by normal sciences).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-171
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
StatePublished - 2008


  • Courts
  • Daubert
  • Science
  • Scientific evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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