Notable developments in courtrooms, academia and government institutions, both state and federal, are laying the groundwork for challenges to fingerprint matching. This extensively researched, comprehensive annotated bibliography by Ken Strutin includes new and noteworthy materials such as key opinions, significant articles and online resources concerning accuracy, reliability, validity as well as authenticity of fingerprint evidence. It also includes information on scientific and technological developments that are pushing the frontiers of biometric analysis.
Attorney Carolyn Elefant discusses what she has learned from her recent experience with data-driven decision making – specifically, although data improves the accuracy of predictions, it doesn’t remove all risk.
Chris Meadows revisits a subject, Google Books, that has been the focal point of legal action, disagreement within the publishing and library communities, and basically an issue lacking closure concerning the end product. Meadows reiterates the Second Circuit finding on Google Books and fair uses in his response to the continued quest of some groups to restore the “Library of Alexandria.” Please also see his related article, Oh Lord, please don’t let Google Book Search be misunderstood.
Report – President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Casts Doubt on Criminal Forensics
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) stated in their report – “Among the more than 2.2 million inmates in U.S. prisons and jails, countless may have been convicted using unreliable or fabricated forensic science. The U.S. has an abiding and unfulfilled moral obligation to free citizens who were imprisoned by such questionable means.” Ken Strutin’s article features information about the PCAST Report, its reception by advocates and critics, and related articles, publications and developments concerning the science of innocence.
Jeff Roberts of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition raises the question of expanding free public access to court documents in Colorado. Specifically, he identifies the only location where a non-lawyer can view and request copies of all civil court documents from ICCES, the Integrated Colorado Courts E-Filing System. This location is the Colorado Supreme Court’s law library in the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center in downtown Denver. Fees and access to PACER have been the topic of discussion in the legal community for many years. The urgency of this discussion and a resolution that ensures free public access to court filings is critically dependent upon the future of court law libraries.
Nicole Black discusses how data downloaded from wearable technology has entered into the discovery phase of personal injury cases. A wealth of data can be collected about the direct activities of individuals who are using wearable devices while exercising, as well as conducting routine and regular activities such as walking. The implications of this concept may have considerable implications on par with those pertaining to the use of social media.
Ken Strutin argues that cut-and-paste is a laudable method for reducing transcription errors in copying citations and quotations. However, he identifies that a problem arises when it is used to lift verbatim sections of a party’s arguments into a case decision. Stipulations and proposed orders from counsel for both parties might be enviable and practicable, but judgment and fact-finding are solely in the province of the court. This has been a long standing issue that has spanned technologies from shears and paste-pot to typewriters and computers, and which might culminate in a Turing Test for case law.
Examples of the use of visualizations and graphical representations of data and documents in the legal arena are increasing. Alan Rothman’s article includes examples from the public and private sectors as well as academia.
Nicole Black discusses a recent NJ case that raises significant questions about the future of privacy and the use of drones for surveillance purposes by both private individuals and governmental entities. Cases such as this one involving the discharge of a weapon to destroy a privately owned drone used to surveil a neighbor’s property will impact interpretations of privacy laws in New Jersey, New York and around the country as well.
Lawyer and legal tech expert Nicole Black highlights how federal court judges are leveraging research and current awareness sources and services provided to professionals and the public via their respective court websites, as well as actively using mobile tools and apps in their daily work flow.