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Commentary on: Lockhart J.J., Satya-Murti S. Diagnosing crime and diagnosing disease: bias reduction strategies in the forensic and clinical sciences

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 62 Issue: 5 Dated: 2017 Pages: 1423-1424
Date Published
2 pages

This commentary on Lockhart’s and Satya-murti’s article on bias-reduction strategies in the forensic and clinical sciences focuses on the article’s review of the literature on this subject, with attention to their assessment of the current commentator’s research.



The commentator expresses concern about the article’s presentation of some of the literature relating to bias in forensic science. Their article cited several studies conducted by the commentator and his colleagues. He argues hat they have either misinterpreted the findings of his research or have misused the citation to support their point of view. The commentator argues that the article mistakenly equates “linear sequential unmasking” (LSU) in forensic evidence analysis with “blinding.” The commentator, whose work developed LSU, argues that although LSU is a method of “blinding” forensic analysts to reference samples until they have thoroughly analyzed crime-scene samples, LSU includes additional elements. According to the commentator, LSU specifies the optimal order in which forensic experts should perform a source-level comparison. Experts must examine and document the trace material before being exposed to the reference material. This involves working from the evidence to the suspect. The commentator also challenges the article’s authors for their suggestion that the commentator’s three studies produced “mixed results.” The commentator argues that in these studies the provision of contextual information increased participants’ rate of making match decisions for fingerprint comparisons, but not for bitemark comparisons. The commentator explains why this is not grounds for stating that the studies had “mixed results.” 7 references


Date Published: January 1, 2017