Reality Check: Science in the Courtroom

By Melissa Lafsky | June 18, 2008 3:10 pm

courtroomForensic Science
DNA evidence, fingerprint analysis, toxicology, and other “hard evidence” sources have gotten so popular—and so advanced—that juries (and lawyers) are bending to the so-called “CSI Effect“—despite the longterm frequency of sample contamination and lab errors.

Not that we’re putting down forensic evidence—for all its faults, it has worked courtroom miracles across the globe.

After taking full advantage of the post-Patriot Act world, the FBI may finally be getting a legal—and Congressional—smackdown for its cavalier attitude towards people’s desire not to be spied on.

Science as a Defense
Big Tobacco’s massive hit—a class action settlement to the tune of $206 billion—struck a nerve with other industries, at least one of which is already whipping up some “solid” science to help mount a defense when/should the class actions commence. If it works, look for plenty more privately funded research labs in the near future.

Drug Lawsuits
From price inflation to deceptive advertising to injury class actions, drugmakers are spending plenty of time—and money—in the courts these days. And as more Big Pharma companies see their patents expire and the generic brands swoop in, look for drug companies to start filing suit against each other.


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