Improving Jury Understanding and Use of DNA Expert Evidence

Criminology Research Council grant ; (05/07-08)

Controversies over how the law should regulate the presentation of expert testimony on DNA forensic science were explored in an experimental study comparing traditional verbal with audiovisual modes of delivery. The study found pre-trial DNA knowledge, as assessed in 3,611 jury-eligible Australians, was limited. However, showing jury members an expert tutorial on DNA profiling evidence significantly improved their DNA knowledge. This paper discusses these results and the procedures that could be adopted by courts and policymakers to enhance justice in criminal cases in which DNA is introduced.