Scale of conclusions for the value of evidence
2012 (English)In: Law, Probability and Risk, ISSN 1470-8396, E-ISSN 1470-840X, Vol. 11, no 1, 1-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Scales of conclusion in forensic interpretation play an important role in the interface between scientific work at a forensic laboratory and different bodies of the jurisdictional system of a country. Of particular importance is the use of a unified scale that allows interpretation of different kinds of evidence in one common framework. The logical approach to forensic interpretation comprises the use of the likelihood ratio as a measure of evidentiary strength. While fully understood by forensic scientists, the likelihood ratio may be hard to interpret for a person not trained in natural sciences or mathematics. Translation of likelihood ratios to an ordinal scale including verbal counterparts of the levels is therefore a necessary procedure for communicating evidence values to the police and in the courtroom. In this paper, we present a method to develop an ordinal scale for the value of evidence that can be applied to any type of forensic findings. The method is built on probabilistic reasoning about the interpretation of findings and the number of scale levels chosen is a compromise between a pragmatic limit and mathematically well-defined distances between levels. The application of the unified scale is illustrated by a number of case studies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Vol. 11, no 1, 1-24 p.
evidence value, ordinal scales, likelihood ratio, logical approach
Probability Theory and Statistics Law and Society
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76093DOI: 10.1093/lpr/mgr020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-76093DiVA: diva2:512281