My new book Autopsy of a Crime Lab is forthcoming in Spring 2021 from University of California Press. For a description of the book: http://www.brandonlgarrett.com/#/autopsycrimelab/
“That’s not my fingerprint, your honor,” said the defendant, after FBI experts reported a “100% identification.” They were wrong; it is shocking how often they are. Autopsy of a Crime Lab is the first book to catalog the sources of error and the faulty science behind a range of well-known types of forensic evidence, from fingerprints and firearms to forensic algorithms.
In this devastating forensic takedown, noted legal expert Brandon Garrett asks the questions that should be asked in courtrooms every day: Where are the studies validating the basic premises of widely accepted techniques such as fingerprinting? How can experts testify with 100% certainty, when there is no such thing as a 100% match? Where is the quality control in the laboratories and at the crime scenes? Should we so readily adopt powerful new technologies like facial recognition software and rapid DNA machines? And why have judges been so reluctant to consider the weaknesses of so many long-accepted methods?
Taking us into the lives of the wrongfully or nearly convicted, into crime labs rocked by scandal, and onto the front lines of promising reform efforts driven by professionals and researchers alike, Autopsy of a Crime Scene illustrates the persistence and perniciousness of shaky science and its well-meaning practitioners.