Forensic Science - Believe It or Not? Public Attitudes toward Forensic Evidence in Israel

Naomi Kaplan-Damary*, Tal Jonathan-Zamir, Gali Perry, Eran Itskovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Forensic science is undergoing an unprecedented period of reform. Wrongful convictions and errors of impunity have been attributed largely to forensic evidence, and concerns over the scientific foundations of many forensic disciplines have been raised in key official reports. In these turbulent times, it becomes particularly interesting to understand how forensic evidence is understood by the general public. Is it idealized? Are its inherent limitations recognized? The present study seeks to contribute to this growing body of work by addressing two main questions: (1) How does the general public perceive forensic science?; (2) How correct are individuals in their evaluations of specific types of forensic evidence? A survey of the Israeli public reveals considerable trust in the ability of forensics to reliably identify the perpetrator of a crime, although less trust is expressed when questions lead respondents to consider specific stages in the forensic process. Furthermore, respondents were often incorrect in their evaluations of the reliability of specific types of forensic evidence. The implications of these findings for police legitimacy, the practice of the criminal justice system, and the future study of attitudes toward forensic evidence, are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalInternational Annals of Criminology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© International Society of Criminology, 2024.

Keywords

  • forensic evidence
  • public attitudes toward forensic science
  • public attitudes toward the police
  • survey research

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