Firearm identification evidence is undergoing heightened scrutiny, according to Kristen McCowan, Ph.D.
Dec. 21, 202 – Firearm identification evidence is undergoing heightened scrutiny, according to Kristen McCowan, Ph.D.
McCowan, a researcher with the Center for Integrity in Forensics Sciences, said firearm identification evidence is often as much subjective as it is objective.
“The word science has a pre-conceived notion that it’s going to be objective and about the facts, where firearms identification is basically a feature comparison and relies a lot on subjective judgments,” McCowan said.
McCowan, who has a doctorate in the psychology of law, is scheduled to be one of the presenters at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s second annual Forensic Justice Institute.
McCowan said many jurors are not equipped to accurately assess the validity of a firearms expert’s identification.
“Confidence isn’t necessarily a good indicator of accuracy, but for a juror it might still come into play because they rely on different cues. They’re not trained in the science.”
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