Forensic Metrology: Scientific Measurement and Inference for Lawyers, Judges, and Criminalists, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Metrology

Scientific Measurement and Inference for Lawyers, Judges, and Criminalists, 1st Edition

By Ted Vosk, Ashley F. Emery

CRC Press

466 pages | 92 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-09-26
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Forensic metrology is the application of scientific measurement to the investigation and prosecution of crime. Forensic measurements are relied upon to determine breath and blood alcohol and drug concentrations, weigh seized drugs, perform accident reconstruction, and for many other applications. Forensic metrology provides a basic framework for the performance and critical evaluation of all forensic measurements. It enables forensic scientists to better develop, perform and communicate forensic measurements; lawyers to better understand, present and cross-examine the results of forensic measurements; and judges to better subject testimony and evidence based on forensic measurements to the appropriate gatekeeping analysis.

Forensic Metrology Scientific Measurement and Inference for Lawyers, Judges, and Criminalists sets forth the metrological framework required to reach sound conclusions based on measured results and the inferences those results support. Armed with this knowledge, scientists and nonscientists alike can:

  • Engage in critical analysis of forensic measurements across a broad spectrum
  • Better understand what measured results represent
  • Successfully prepare and present testimony and/or cases that involve such evidence
  • Recognize poor measurement practices and prevent bad science from undermining the search for truth in the courtroom

The book begins by introducing and developing metrological principles and concepts. Next, it presents advanced and mathematically rigorous principles and methods of inference in metrology. Throughout the book, scientific and legal aspects of measurements are addressed and accompanied by examples. The accompanying CD includes an in-depth Primer on Forensic Metrology and provides practice materials for legal and forensic professionals that include court decisions, legal motions, and expert reports.

A basic understanding of forensic metrology will improve the practices of both legal and forensic professionals, helping to ensure the integrity of the legal system, its fact-finding functions, and the practice of justice in the courtroom.

Table of Contents

Science, Metrology, and the Law

Introduction to Measurement: The Measurand

Weights and Measures

Validation and Good Measurement Practices

Result Interpretation-I: Metrological Prerequisites to Knowledge

Result Interpretation-II: Measurement Error

Result Interpretation-III: Measurement Uncertainty

Epistemological Structure of Metrology

Models and Uncertainty

Logic, Plausibility, and Probability

Bayes’ Relation

Statistics and the Characterizing of Uncertainties

Hypothesis Testing, Evidence, Likelihood, Data

Confidence and Credible Intervals, Statistical Inference

Least Squares, Parameter Estimation, and Correlation

Measurements: Errors versus Uncertainty

Plausibility and the Law

Reading List

Example: Effect of a Calibration Constant


Appendix A: Symbols

Appendix B: Glossary

Appendix C: Metrology Organizations and Standards

Appendix D: Legal Authorities

Appendix E: Case Materials


About the Authors

Ted Vosk is a criminal defense attorney and legal/forensic consultant. Over the past decade, he has been a driving force behind the reform of forensic practices in Washington State and the laws governing the use of the evidence they produce. His work in and out of the courtroom continues to help shape law in jurisdictions around the country. He has been awarded the President’s Award from the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Certificate of Distinction from the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice. A Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and member of Mensa, he has written, broadcast, presented, and taught around the country on topics ranging from the origins of the universe to the doctrine of constitutional separation of powers. He has been published in legal and scientific media, including the Journal of Forensic Sciences, and his work has been cited in others, including Law Reviews and treatises.

Ashley F. Emery is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington and an adjunct professor of architecture and of industrial and systems energy. He has been an associate dean of the College of Engineering, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and director for the Thermal Transport Program of the National Science Foundation. His areas of research interest are heat transfer, fluid dynamics, architectural and building energy, thermal stresses, fracture, design and interpretation of experiments, and Bayesian inference. He has published more than 200 technical papers in refereed journals. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. He is a recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Heat Transfer Memorial Award and the 75th Anniversary Heat Transfer Award.

About the Series

International Forensic Science and Investigation

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science