Chapter 10 - Minimizing and Leveraging Bias in Forensic Science

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Book Chapter

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Addressing bias in forensic science must entail more than temporarily hiding information from a bench examiner—though such information hiding is essential. We suggest that blinding (and other strategies to minimize bias) should be complemented by measures to leverage remaining biases and that blinding measures should be embedded in a right mix of complementary measures, some of which we will describe as “hierarchical” and others as “distributed.” To make our case, we explain that there are several very different ways to handle bias in forensic science. We offer a classification of strategies and comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each. It should be clear that the different strategies are complementary, but opinions may differ on which mix is best. Finally, we warn of the dangers of “regulatory capture.” Economic theory and history show that a regulatory oversight body may act in ways that serve special interests more effectively than the general interest.



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