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Flawed Forensics, 20,000 Wrongful Convictions and Government’s Culpability (Guest: Roger Koppl)

June 18, 2019

Economist Roger Koppl joins the podcast to talk about failures in forensic science, criminal justice reform, and his book, "Expert Failure." Dr. Koppl speaks of how government controlled crime labs lead to numerous wrongful convictions.

Roger Koppl discusses the inherent problem of the government’s monopoly on crime labs, pointing to institutional incentives for experts in a variety of fields. From fingerprint analysis to DNA matching, Roger estimates that 20,000 individuals are wrongly convicted each year in the United States because of faulty forensic evidence.

Koppl has consulted with the Innocence Project, an organization that challenges wrongful convictions, on this issue. Koppl says that competition among experts is the fairest way to judge differing opinions, and suggests that standards for evidence testing be established, such as randomly having evidence tested by a second lab and “sequentially unmasking” identification of case information to testers in order to prevent bias.

Purchase Expert Failure here:


Joe Barnett is a senior editor at The Heartland Institute and a policy advisor on budget and tax issues.