chapter  8
23 Pages

The Importance of Having a Logical Framework for Expert Conclusions in Forensic DNA Profi ling: Illustrations from the Amanda Knox Case

ByJoëlle Vuille, Alex Biedermann, Franco Taroni

Colin Pitchfork, accused of the murder of two young girls in England in 1986, was the fi rst man ever incriminated by results of modern DNA profi ling analyses. After this fi rst success, the forensic use of DNA spread and was quickly acclaimed as a powerful means to fi ght crime. Soon, however, it became apparent that DNA could also be used for a different purpose: in 1992, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld founded the Innocence Project, which relied heavily on DNA to detect wrongful convictions and to analyze their causes. At the time, eyewitnesses and jailhouse informants had long been suspected of unreliability. Surprisingly, though, DNA also exposed scientifi c expertise as a cause of miscarriages of justice, and sometimes even exposed DNA itself as a cause of justice gone wrong.