Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Forensic evidence is foolproof, right? ... If only forensics were that reliable. Instead, to judge by the most comprehensive study on the reliability of forensic evidence to date, the error rate is more than 10% in five catagories of analysis, including fiber, paint and body fluids. ... DNA and fingerprints are more reliable but still not foolproof. ... Though a 2005 study in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology suggests a fingerprint false-positive rate a bit below 1%, a widely-read 2006 experiment shows an alarming 4% false-positive rate. ... The core problem with the forensic evidence system is monopoly. Once evidence goes to one lab, it is rarely examined by any other. That needs to change. Each jurisdiction should include several competing labs. ... Other reforms should include making labs independent of law enforcement and a requirement for blind testing. When crime labs are part of the police department, some forensic experts make mistakes out of an unconscious desire to help their 'clients,' the police and the prosecution. Independence and blind testing prevent that", Roger Koppl at Forbes, 2 June 2008.
Amen Koppl. Moody's take note. The SEC should consider the implications of Koppl's position with respect to potential rating agency reforms. Look at Moody's reassigning analysts to accommodate investment banks. Oh, no, did Moody's really do that? See my 28 December 2007 and 5 June 2008 posts.