April 2012 Vol. 110 No. 6 THE REVIEW

A Tale of Two Sciences

Erin Murphy

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . ." So might one describe the contrasting portraits of DNA's ascension in the criminal justice system that are drawn in David Kaye's The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence and Sheldon Krimsky and Tania Simoncelli's Genetic Justice: DNA Data Banks, Criminal Investigations, and Civil Liberties. For Kaye, the double helix stands as the icon of twenty-first-century achievement, a science menaced primarily by the dolts (lawyers, judges, and the occasional analyst) who misuse it. For Krimsky and Simoncelli, DNA is a seductive forensic tool that is prone to overuse and best distrusted, as evidenced by swollen national data banks, shady police and laboratory practices, and unverified claims that the science has aided hundreds of thousands of investigations. Both books were written by experienced DNA insiders. Krimsky, a Tufts University professor and bioethics expert, and Simoncelli, formerly the Science Advisor at the American Civil Liberties Union, were both active participants in early academic and policy debates around DNA databasing. So too was Kaye, a professor at Penn State University, who has served on a number of government committees devoted to DNA methods and who has also aided defense lawyers in an assortment of cases. So whose picture is right?

   //  VIEW PDF
& Other Current Events

Fall Submission Season

MLR’s Articles Office will open its fall submission season on Monday, August 18!  The Articles...

The Ninth Circuit's Treatment of Sexual Orientation: Defining “Rational Basis Review with Bite”

On February 10, Nevada's Democratic attorney general decided to stop defending the state's constitutional...

Inhibiting Intrastate Inequalities: A Congressional Approach to Ensuring Equal Opportunity to Finance Public Education

The United States has exhibited a strong commitment to public education throughout its history. The local...

War Is Governance: Explaining the Logic of the Laws of War from a Principal-Agent Perspective

What is the purpose of the international law on armed conflict, and why would opponents bent on destroying...

Tariffication of the Coastwise Trade Laws

The coastwise trade laws prohibit foreign vessels and mariners from transporting goods or passengers...
MAILING LIST
Sign Up to Join Our Mailing List