Stern to help lead national effort to improve criminal evidence analysis, cut wrongful convictions


Center member Hal Stern, dean of the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences and professor of statistics, will help lead a new national Forensic Science Center of Excellence. Aimed at improving criminal evidence analysis and reducing wrongful convictions, it will be funded by a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Institute of Standards & Technology. The campus will receive about $4 million, to be used by ICS and social ecology faculty and students. “UC Irvine is honored to be a part of this. There is a critical need to advance the scientific underpinnings for the analysis of forensic evidence – including fingerprints, firearms, marks left by tools, and documents – and to ensure that participants in the law enforcement process have a strong understanding of proper analyses and interpretation,” said Stern, who is principal investigator for UCI. The center, headquartered at Iowa State University, also will partner with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Virginia. It will incorporate both a research agenda – developing new probabilistic methods and statistical tools – and education to ensure that judges, lawyers and investigators can effectively utilize the results of forensic analyses. For more information, see here.