Frye Test

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Although efforts are being made to improve the standards of these disciplines, there is still an issue relating to the level of scientific relevance and reliability of the evidence that is expected for court standards. In order to assess this, US rulings of cases Frye v. United States (1923), Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993) and Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (1999) were major turning points regarding scientific testimony standards. Indeed, the admissibility forensic evidence first came under scrutiny in Frye v. United States (1923), which defined reliable expert evidence as being any method that has gained general acceptance within the scientific community. The “Frye test” was widely applied until Rule 705 of the Federal Rules of …show more content…
Forensic anthropological techniques are a mixture both quantitative and qualitative although most are qualitative (Grivas & Komar, 2008). For example, sex estimation. Sexually dimorphic traits that distinguish adult males from adult females are present in the pelvis (Rogers & Saunders, 1994) and the skull, but also in long bones (Spradley & Jantz, 2011; Krogman, 1973). In the forensic anthropology community, these sex indicators have been generally accepted and are applied to casework, but arguably the methods can be criticised when applied to court suitability. Indeed, qualitative methods such as these can be considered as unreliable as they are dependant on the expert carrying out the analysis and their “preferred way” of determining sex from the array of morphometric indicators that exist, resulting in different results and conclusions (Yezerinac et. al., 1992). This preference matter and lack of research testing the accuracy and reliability of specific features demonstrates this issue of subjectivity, which is much harder to convey in court and subsequently adhere to the Daubert standards. On the other hand, although a method is “qualitative” it is based on statistically quantifiable and reproducible methodologies and possesses definable error rates (eg: Bruzek, 2002; Williams & Rogers, 2006), which do adhere to Daubert in this respect (Grivas & Komar, 2008). Pure metric (quantitative) methods also exist in sex estimation. These are based on taking measurements of landmarks of a bone in the aim of providing reproducible and more objective quantitative results that can be expressed statistically (Krogman, 1986; Gonzalez et. al., 2009). However, although the aim is to reduce subjectivity, the metric method is based on the