Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

The right way and the wrong way of presenting statistical and geological evidence in a court of law (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!)

By
Wayne C. Isphording
Wayne C. Isphording
Department of Earth Sciences, University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL 36688, USA
(e-mail: wisphord@jaguar1.usouthal.edu)
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2004

Abstract

On 21 March 1981 a young black male was abducted in Mobile, Alabama, and taken to a site across Mobile Bay where he was beaten and murdered. The act was in apparent revenge for the mis-trial of a black man accused of killing a white police officer from Birmingham, Alabama. Three members of the notorious Ku Klux Klan were apprehended and charged with murder. All were found guilty and the ringleader was executed in 1997; the others are now serving life sentences.

Ironically, the perpetrators were successful in having evidence tying them to the crime scene completely discredited. Statistical evidence purporting to show similarities in soil chemistry from samples taken from the victim, the defendants, and the crime scene was totally invalidated because improper statistical analyses were used. Following completion of the trial, the defence's expert witness was contacted by the district attorney and asked to describe the appropriate statistical tests that should have been offered and that would have supported his case. He was further able to take solace by learning that strong mineralogical evidence could also have been used. It simply had not been reviewed by anyone who possessed the proper expertise.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Forensic Geoscience: Principles, Techniques and Applications

K. Pye
K. Pye
Kenneth Pye Associates Ltd & Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
D. J. Croft
D. J. Croft
Croft Scientific and Technical & Kenneth Pye Associates Ltd, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
Volume
232
ISBN electronic:
9781862394803
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal